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Centralized, Decentralized and Distributed (p2p): what are the differences?

By Arkemmus | Arkemmus' Blog | 24 Jan 2021

There are many different types of networks: centralized, decentralized, distributed, P2P, and crypto.



Centralized network

In a centralized network, all nodes are peripheral, except the central one. These nodes can only communicate through the central node and its channels. If the central node suffers a fall, the rest of the nodes stop having the information flow.

The centralized network is governed by the principle of knowledge, that is, the receiver knows the sender's message.

Until now it has been the most used, however, it is being replaced by decentralized and distributed.

Examples of a centralized network are newspapers, television (broadcasting one-way messages), classic advertising, a dictatorial government, etc.






Decentralized network
In a decentralized network, there is no single central node, there is a collective center of several connection ports. When one of the regulatory nodes goes down, one or more nodes are disconnected from the whole network. If the centralizing node falls, it necessarily causes the rupture and disappearance of the entire network.

In other words, all nodes are connected to each other without necessarily having to go through one to several centers. The network does not fall before the fall of nodes.

The decentralized network is governed by the principle of membership or participation.

Examples of a decentralized network are Wikipedia, Red harvester ants, etc.



Distributed network
It is a type of network whose main characteristic is the absence of an individual or collective center. The nodes are linked one to another in such a way that none of them has the power to filter the information that is transmitted in the network, consequently, the idea of ​​center and periphery disappears, basic characteristics in centralized and decentralized networks.

If any node were to go down, it would not disconnect any other, therefore making it a practical, robust, and efficient network.

This network is governed by the principle of interaction, each node is independent and can move freely.

A clear example of a distributed network is the blogosphere.

The Internet was born as a fully distributed network, which is why it has revolutionized the world. The network could function even if parts of it were not operational. The protocol could be redirected towards packets through other routes to their destination.



Centralized P2P networks
They are based on a monolithic architecture, that is, all transactions are made through a single server, which in turn acts as a point of connection between two nodes. It also stores the nodes and distributes them where the contents are stored.

Examples of this type of network: Audiogalaxy, Napster, etc.



Hybrid, semi-centralized, or mixed P2P networks
They have the peculiarity of working both ways, that is, it can incorporate more than one server that manages shared resources, but in case the server or servers go down, the group of nodes can continue to work.

Examples of a hybrid P2P network are BitTorrent, eDonkey, and Direct Connect.



Decentralized or pure P2P networks
They are the most common due to their versatility. All communications are directly from user to user with the help of a node (which is another user) that allows these communications to be linked. The nodes act as clients and servers. There is no central server, nor a central router to serve as a node to manage addresses.







Unstructured P2P networks
Unstructured P2P network is defined when the links in the overlay are established arbitrarily. For example when a user wants to join the network and copies existing links from another node and later forms his own links in a specified time.

Flooding increases traffic on the network, so these networks are not very efficient in search results.

Examples of this type of network are Gnutella and KaZaA.



Structured P2P networks
These types of networks maintain a distributed hash table (DHT); each user is responsible for a specific part of the content of the network.

Examples of structured P2P networks are Chord, Pastry P2P Network, Tulip Overlay, etc.



Crypto networks
Crypto networks are internet-based networks, they use consensus mechanisms such as blockchains, they use cryptocurrencies (or tokens), which in turn incentivize the participants of said consensus (miners or delegates).

There are networks like Ethereum where their platforms are used for any purpose. Others like Bitcoin and Litecoin are basically intended to store value, Filecoin for decentralized file storage, Golem to perform calculations, etc.

Crypto networks bring participants together to achieve common goals such as network growth and token appreciation.

There are feedback loops that involve developers of the core protocol, supplemental crypto networks, application developers, even providers that operate on the network, all for free (or maybe in exchange for tokens).



It is difficult to speak better or worse of each one of them, they all exist with a purpose that is specific, but if we compare centralized and decentralized systems, we have to consider them as dynamic processes and not as static or rigid.

Centralized systems are often successful and only get better if users care about them.

Decentralized systems usually start half-done, but if there are adequate conditions, growth becomes exponential.

The question of decentralized and centralized systems and who will win the next internet era is based on who will build the most attractive products, consequently who will have more quality developers and entrepreneurs. At the moment, large companies have an advantage (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) due to very operational infrastructure.

Crypto networks have very attractive value propositions for developers and entrepreneurs. The truth is that the competition achieves positive results and considerable improvements.



The future of networks
Centralized platforms have been the dominant one for decades, some believe that there is no better way to create services, yet decentralized networks offer an improved approach than centralized systems.

Today crypto networks make open and transparent decisions. Crypto networks are a powerful force for developing community-owned networks and providing a level playing field for businesses, creators, and developers.

Without a doubt, the future is synonymous with decentralization and the financial economy of cryptocurrencies.






How do you rate this article?



Strong cryptocurrency lover, I have a lot of experience in this niche.

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