All About Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Networks
One very common form of P2P networking is Instant Messaging (IM) where software applications, such as MSN Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger, for example, allow users to chat via text messages in real-time. While most vendors offer a free version of their IM software others have begun to focus on enterprise versions of IM software as business and corporations have moved towards implementing IM as a standard communications tool for business.
Affinity communities is the group of P2P networks that is based around file-sharing and became widely known and talked about due to the public legal issues surrounding the direct file sharing group, Napster. Affinity Communities are based on users collaborating and searching other user's computers for information and files.
How Peer-to-peer File-sharing Clients Work
Once you have downloaded and installed a P2P client, if you are connected to the Internet you can launch the utility and you are then logged into a central indexing server. This central server indexes all users who are currently online connected to the server. This server does not host any files for downloading. The P2P client will contain an area where you can search for a specific file. The utility queries the index server to find other connected users with the file you are looking for. When a match is found the central server will tell you where to find the requested file. You can then choose a result from the search query and your utility when then attempt to establish a connection with the computer hosting the file you have requested. If a successful connection is made, you will begin downloading the file. Once the file download is complete the connection will be broken.