When several computers are interconnected, but no computer occupies a privileged position, the network is usually referred to as a peer-to-peer network. Unlike the client/server model, in which the client makes a service request and the server fulfills the request, the P2P network model allows each node to function as both a client and server. In simplest form, a peer-to-peer (P2P) network is created when two or more PCs are connected and share resources without going through a separate server computer.
The initial use of P2P networks in business followed the deployment in the early 1980s of free-standing PCs. Some P2P networks today use a hybrid network form. Napster, Open NAP, and IRC, for example, use a client-server approach for tasks like searching for files or sections of files to share and a peer-to-peer approach for the actual file sharing.
Peer-to-peer file sharing pretty much began with torrents. They are a type of file sharing protocol specializing in larger file downloads. Torrents are encoded make it easier to download a large file, and even reputable resources are beginning to use them to make downloading files easier for users.