Peer-to-peer ( P2P ) File Sharing

One of the file sharing methods which widely used on internet is peer-to-peer ( P2P ) model, which the files are stored on and served by user personal computers.

The first generation of P2P network has a centralized list. A user can send a search enquiry to the centralized server, and the server will send back a list of peers or nodes that have the data and facilitate the connection and download. Napster was closed due to legal troubles for using this method.

The later P2P network generation has anonymity features built in that it will route traffic through other user clients. The clients have the function of network nodes (device that is connected as part of a computer network). This will make it harder to be identified the “provider” or “downloader”. Most of these programs will have strong encryptions to resist traffic sniffing.

In the latest service, streaming has been sent through P2P network. One can hear radio or watch television without any service involved due to this capability.

However, file sharing has been misused by lots of users to download and upload copyright materials without permission. This has led to lots of legal issues which are currently happening.

Besides, some file sharing softwares come with malware which can be permanently installed in the pc. The malware can cause performance degradation, and in some cases, it may open up user private information.

Thus, before using any file sharing software or method, the users need to be very cautious and well understand what it can do to the PC. And be aware of any potential legal issue.