Peer-to-peer refers to the design of a service that does not rely on centralized networking services such as DNS to connect end users' computers. This design accounts for the unpredictable accessibility of these end nodes in making connections between users. Traditional networks follow a spoke-and-wheel design, where the network is organized around a central hub, the site's users come to interact with that hub from client workstations. In peer-to-peer applications, many or all of the functions performed in connecting a traditional, server-based, network are off-loaded to the client machines connected to the network. Filesharing is a use of peer-to-peer technology. It takes advantage of the end users' storage and retrieval capabilities across individual networks that includes other users of a filesharing system (for example, early Napster and the gnutella network). Think of a WWW model being a 24-hr shopping mall. The stores are web sites. They are always there. You can always go to the same place to find the same items. Peer-to-peer is more of a bazaar where the vendors come and go as they please. You never know what you'll find until you get there. The products aren't in the same place every time. All these wondering gypsies could pack up and leave town tomorrow and you'd be out there in the mall again, trying to track down where they went so you could go, too.

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