P2P Networks

WSJ features an article from technology Review to how peer-to-peer networking approach can bring about a more relaible network:

One of the weakest points of the Internet right now is the domain name system, which is run by a loose confederation of name servers. Running DNS on top of a peer-to-peer system instead could dramatically improve its reliability.

Today, if your business runs a small Web server and the site suddenly gets very popular, the server can crash from all of the extra traffic. But if all of the computers on the Internet were part of a global peer-to-peer Web cache, then small companies and individuals could publish their material to the multitudes. A good system would even prevent malicious modification of the Web page contents when they were served off other machines.

In the event of a terrorist attack on the Internet’s infrastructure, a peer-to-peer system would be far more likely to recover than a system that depended on top-down control.

Closely associated with the idea of peer-to-peer is the concept of an “overlay network.” These are networks of computers that operate above the Internet, with direct links between computers that might be geographically distant on the Internet itself. Gnutella, Kasaa, and Morpheus are all overlay networks, as is the global network of Web servers operated by Akamai.

Overlay networks force the Internet to route packets differently by moving them between specific computers. For example, you might have an overlay network that consists of a computer in Washington, another in San Francisco, and another in Tokyo. By sending the packets from one of your computers to the next, you could defy your ISP’s routing policy, and force your packets to go along a path of your choosing.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.