Peer-to-Peer is a term used in networking to refer to a network built on a set of stand alone computers. Each computer is autonomous and it's functionality is independant of all other systems. Network addresses are often configured manually, and any settings for directory shares, printers and other services are unique to, and accessable from each sysetem. All access, logons, services and policies are provided to the users of that computer only. There is no centralized management in the network whatsoever. With no central database for logins and access, each user will have a separate login for each machine. This is fine for small networks, but does not allow them to grow larger (scale) very well.

In peer to peer networks, every single machine must have a separate account for each human who wants to use the machine. Worse, each machine can potentially have a different human administrator. This makes maintaining corporate-wide policies impossible, as each administrator can do whatever they want with their machine. To make things even more nightmareish, an administrator will often have to run round to each computer individually and log in locally in order to make changes. This keeps the admin running all day long, typically in circles and never rarely anything accomplished.

However, if only a few machines exist, and each user can be trusted, this model can often be more productive.


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