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1. The kind of communication found in a system using layered protocols. Each software or hardware component can be considered to communicate only with its peer in the same layer via the connection provided by the lower layers.
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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 and click on the "P2P Directory" for a comprehensive list of resources, articles and blogs about the subject.

A Peer-To-Peer Primer
O'Reilly's book, "Peer-To-Peer; Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies" is a collection of potent articles by peer-to-peer experts. Edited by Adam Oram, it covers every major pioneering P2P effort, including Napster and SETI, and explains all the architectures and ramifications of the subject. This is essential peer-to-peer reading. (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 2001).
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TechOnline integrates all of CMP Technology Electronics Group's design- related content into a single, comprehensive network, with trusted design, reference, educational and product information as well as e-learning, virtual product testing and peer-to-peer networking capabilities:
MANY PEOPLE retain a perception of peer-to-peer networking based on the old Napster model of file sharing.
"A larger pool of members also creates better information resources for peer-to-peer networking," adds Brush.
Master Node Redundancy technology, designed for peer-to-peer networking, prevents a single point of failure, unlike 802.11 systems running in AP mode.
Distributed computing is an example of peer-to-peer networking, of which the music-sharing service Napster is the best-known example.
Worldwide Computer Products News-28 September 2000-Endeavors Technology releases new peer-to-peer networking software (C)1995-2000 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD
The section closes with specific guidance on what local area networks should work best for most offices (l0BaseT Ethernet with a central hub and peer-to-peer networking).
The start-up expense for a network may seem steep but your return on investment should justify it A 10-user license for Artisoft's peer-to-peer networking solution, Power Suite, retails for $1,499 (800-846-9726).
(L.C.I.) announced a new technology: peer-to-peer networking through the parallel printer port.
Thus peer-to-peer networking permits users to share software and data while retaining the privacy of stand-alone applications.
Secondly, IBM officials have acknowledged that the router will provide Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking (APPN) support for mainframes in 1992, and for RS/6000 workstations, servers and SNA 3270 terminals in 1993.

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