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Peer-to-peer networks refers to a protocol for sharing files over the internet where computers on the network (peers) can connect and download files from other peers, with or without the use of a centralized server. Peer-to-peer networks now are typically completely decentralized, similar to the BitTorrent protocol, without a centralized server providing indexing services of the files available for download from peers.
Peer-to-peer networks are widely utilized because of the ability to distribute among the peers the processing, storage and bandwidth required to transfer large amounts of data.