This paper is dedicated to networks and their application and influence they have got upon human lives. For the purpose of this short report, only one type of networks was selected. It is P2P networks. Networks have caused a stir in the technology world. Nowadays people cannot live without using network because they became an integral part of our daily routine.

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Networks are used in most organizations today. Because networks allow groups consisting of two or more computers to share data, files, printers and etc. with one another quickly and efficiently. The communication could be wired and wireless. In additionally, networks can be built by means of applying various connection protocols. However, one can subdivide such into two major types: LAN or WAN. LAN is Local Access Network connection it connects two or more computers within one location. On the other hand, WAN is Wide Access Network. WANs may be able to connect more than one LANs or separate computers between different areas, countries and Continents. This particular paper attempts to explain key features of network architecture, main implications and the influence, such networks have on individuals and on the society, as it is related to so call Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks.

A peer-to-peer network is a network in which nodes, which make up the network and are thus interconnected, are exchanging information without a centralized system which would administer such interconnections and such exchange (Bhakuni et al, 2014). The architecture of the network is based on so called distributed application principle. The architecture allows all the participants of the network or a certain number of such to share the partitions of work and thus to do the work quickly (Sharma et al, 2013). The data may be transferred through both wired and wireless networks. Even a single connection between two peers may be realized through the use of both wired and wireless connections (Zulhasnine, et al, 2013). When speaking of the most widely known application of P2P networks, it is certainly worthwhile mentioning Bit Torrent networks. In these networks the problem so storing large volumes of information is resolved by means of a number of peers having the same set of information on their machines.

This information is available to all the rest of the peers, and, at the same time, does not have to be stored on a centralized network server. Moreover, the high capacity internet connection is not required either. When a peer requests a piece of information from the networks, such a peer will receive it in a segmented form. The segments will be coming from different peers, and even though each one of them may have a comparatively low speed Internet connection, in the final score the peer, who requested the piece, will receive it at a very high speed, in the majority of large networks, the information will be downloaded at a maximum available speed. Moreover, the peer, who requested the information, prior to having finished the download process, will become able to participate in the process of seeding – distributing the very same piece of information among other peers.

An important feature of P2P networks is that as the number of users grows, the capacity of the network also grows, which is quite different in case of traditional networks (Sharma et al, 2013).

The applications of such a technology are numerous. Certainly, the most widely known application is the distribution of digitally pirated copies of licensed materials, such being books, audio books, music, video, software and so on. However, there networks, which do not contain illegal content, are used for work. The main goal of the networks is collecting and distributing large volumes of information without outstandingly expensive equipment, without having to duplicate the information and so on. Another important application of P2P networks is crypto currencies, including, but certainly not limited to Bitcoin and other gaining popularity digital currencies (Shin, 2015).

In general this has significantly influenced lives of the society. P2P networks made information much more available for individuals. It is easy to, without leaving one’s home, to download an album of one’s favorite band, to download a book, in order to purchase one would sometimes have to travel to another city, to download and in a few minutes start watching a movie, to find documents from all over the world, and all this without spending money and without much control from the side of the government. It has become possible to easily share one’s information with one’s friends without publishing a link and making it available to anybody but the intended audience. This made hard copies less popular in a number of countries, particularly those, in which P2P networks and their activities are not regulated by the legislation. At the same time it has brought down the income of the copyright owners, distributors and publishers. They had to find new ways of defending their rights and new ways of earning money. Speaking about the money, with bitcoin it has become possible to earn money internationally and not to declare it to the local tax authorities (Antonopoulos, 2014). This will, certainly have further implications, as in many instances such behavior of citizens is risky for the state and its wellbeing, since if there is no one to pay taxes, the state is unable to fulfill its social function.

In general, looking back a decade, one may clearly see that P2P networks have significantly changed the world. And they continue to bring about even more significant changes even though they are not much spoken about. Legislators all over the world are making attempts to bring national and international legislation into accordance with the new realities, which P2P networks have brought about. The task is not easy, but it is certainly an important thing to do, since these new realities have emerged in various aspects of our lives, starting with personal entertainment and communication and ending with the sphere of public finance. And thus P2P networks have certainly become a figure impossible to neglect. They influence both personal and social life of people all over the world.

    References
  • Antonopoulos, Andreas M. (April 2014). Mastering Bitcoin. Unlocking Digital Crypto-Currencies. O’Reilly Media.
  • Bhakuni, A., Sharma, P., Kaushal, R. (2014). “Free-rider detection and punishment in BitTorrent based P2P networks”, International Advanced Computing Conference.
  • Sharma P., Bhakuni A. & Kaushal R.”Performance Analyis of BitTorrent Protocol. National Conference on Communications, 2013
  • Shin, Laura (21 October 2015). “Q&A: Chain.com CEO Adam Ludwin On How Money Will Become Digital”. Forbes.
  • Zulhasnine, Mohammed; et al. (2013). “P2P Streaming Over Cellular Networks: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities”. In Pathan; et al. Building Next-Generation Converged Networks: Theory and Practice. CRC Press. p. 99.