Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Peer-to-Peer Overlay Networks: Structure, Routing and Maintenance

  • Wojciech GalubaEmail author
  • Sarunas Girdzijauskas
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_1215


A peer-to-peer overlay network is a computer network built on top of an existing network, usually the Internet. Peer-to-peer overlay networks enable participating peers to find the other peers not by the IP addresses but by the specific logical identifiers known to all peers. Usually, peer-to-peer overlays have the advantage over the traditional client-server systems because of their scalability and lack of single-point-of-failure. Peer-to-peer overlays are commonly used for file sharing and real time data streaming.

Historical Background

The rise of the Internet brought the first instances of peer-to-peer overlays like the Domain Name System (DNS), the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), USENET and more recently IPv6, which were needed to facilitate the operation of the Internet itself. These peer-to-peer overlays were intrinsically decentralized and represented symmetric nature of the Internet, where every node in the overlay had equal status and assumed cooperative...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPFLLausanneSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karl Aberer
    • 1
  1. 1.Distributed Inf. Sys Lab.Inst. for Core Computing Science (IIF), EPFL-IC-IIF-LSIRLausanneSwitzerland