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Insight to P2P ( Torrents )

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is a system of sharing files directly between network users, without the assistance or the interference of a central server. The decentralized nature of peer-to-peer file sharing removes the need for a central server, and removes the possibility of centralized control.

Because peer-to-peer file sharing networks do not require a central server, they are more scalable and more redundant than centralized file sharing schemes.

Peer-to-peer file sharing networks are also more resistant to legal attacks, because there is no one central entity to file a lawsuit against. To attack a peer-to-peer file sharing network, a claimant must file suits against individual network users.

Basic Keywords :

Torrent: This is a small metadata file and ends with .torrent. This torrent file contains all the information about those files (movies, music, etc) that you so eagerly want to download. When you try to initiate a P2P download, this file is sent to your computer.

Peer: A peer is another user just like you on the network or the Internet, who is interested in downloading stuff. A peer doesn’t have the complete file on his/her system.

Seed: As the word goes, a seed is the originator of the file. The seed has the complete file on his/her system. There can be multiple seeds for the same file on the Internet, which is what makes P2P sharing so useful.

Swarm: A swarm is the whole bunch of people associated with a particular file. This includes the source of the file (or seed) and the peers downloading the file (others like you).

Tracker: The tracker is the server of the torrent site that monitors (or tracks) the progress of your download. When you initialize the agent, all it does is it communicates with the tracker and acquires a list of peers to contact. It tells you of the progress in file transfer.

DHT: This is an abbreviation for Distributed Hash Table. The tracker uses this table to compile a list of peers that host a particular file.

Usage: Last week, I used P2P file sharing to get that copy of Titanic. I got the torrent for it immediately. The tracker referred to the DHT and showed me 14 seeds and 50 peers. The whole swarm has grown tremendously this week.