A CDE Definition
From user to user. Peer-to-peer implies that either side can initiate a session and has equal responsibility. Peer-to-peer is a somewhat confusing term, because it has always been contrasted to a central system that initiates and controls everything. But in practice, two users on a peer-to-peer system often require data from a third computer. For example, the infamous Napster file sharing service was always called a "peer-to-peer network," but its use of a central server to store the public directory made it both centralized and peer-to-peer.
The two major categories of peer-to-peer systems are for file sharing (see peer-to-peer network) and CPU sharing (see grid computing). In a wireless network, a peer-to-peer architecture is called an "ad hoc" network (see mobile ad hoc network).
There are many applications and services that claim to be peer-to-peer. Visit www.openp2p.com and click on the "P2P Directory" for a comprehensive list of resources, articles and blogs about the subject.
A Peer-To-Peer Primer
Before/After Your Search Term
Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.