Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet has probably heard all about Peer-to-Peer systems or P2P. The buzz about P2P computer systems is that these systems take advantage of a network of individuals all connected by their computer systems online and sharing information as a group. By having the same form of P2P software loaded onto the computer systems, the network of users can easily pass along many forms of electronic files such as music, software and video format files. Each software program has its own certain set of operating instructions and features that allow the users in a specified network to share files. The network of users can be small, comprising only a few individuals or very large, with groups of computer users in the millions. The software that is required to be able to access the P2P systems of other users are generally offered for free though these free programs may have advertisements that occasionally pop-up in return for the free software.
Each individual computer user in this form of network acts as a peer to the other users and they all share files equally. By having no central file server, the users in the network are free to share whatever files they like. When we talk about the buzz of P2P computer systems, what we are really talking about is the way that many computer users have embraced this aspect of being connected to the Internet and to millions of other users. When once, these users were satisfied with having a few songs downloaded off the Internet, they now have many thousands of them downloaded and in their hard drives or MP3 players. The feeding frenzy is growing every day and there seems to be no end in sight to the amount of downloading of files on P2P systems. Many magazines and online zines report on the buzz about P2P computer systems in almost every issue of their publications. That is because it is a very popular topic among many computer users.
The buzz about P2P computer systems seems to be centered on the widespread usage of the many downloading programs out there that allow many computer users sharing a network to upload and download files among the hard drives of the network. The ability of these P2P software programs to allow users to download and share whatever files they want while remaining virtually anonymous is the main reason they are so popular. These software programs allow a user the option of allowing other users to download files from their own hard drive or to limit the downloads to certain folders, or to not allow downloading at all.
This final choice may affect the ability of the network to run smoothly among some users, and may even limit your own ability to download from other computer users in the network. The way these programs are set up is that if you share your files with others, you can more easily download files from the network. By not allowing others to download from you, your ability to get files from the network may be limited to a few files or a very slow download speed.
Some of the buzz about P2P Computer systems concerns security of the network and the computer users that use the software programs to access each other’s computer hard drives. The ability of some unscrupulous users to upload viruses and other attacks to the network of users is always there, but many people have become very adept at spotting this form of attack in the files they download from a system. By simply getting in the habit of scanning all downloaded files with a reputable virus program before opening, the chances of downloading a virus file into your hard drive become much smaller.