What is Distributed Networks?

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A distributed network consists of two or more computers linked together to share resources, exchange data, and facilitate communication. There are many forms of networks. The type of network that we will focus on in this article is the distributed network structure. The primary purpose of using distributed networks is to spread out computer resources and work. 

One example of a distributed network is the blockchain network that supports Bitcoin. All transactions on the Bitcoin network are permanently recorded by thousands of computers distributed around the world, making the network highly secure. For the network to fail, over 50% of the network would have to be compromised.

A Deep Dive into Distributed Networks

In a distributed network, computers are referred to as nodes. These networks are a composition of equal, interconnected nodes meaning the data ownership and computer resources are shareable. The term ‘distributed networks’ is commonly used to refer to networks where node locations and computational resources are equal.

Since the distributed networks do not have central servers, data processing requires crowdsourcing. Access to this data is equal to all nodes and unrestricted. The decision-making system is also unanimous, where a voting process happens across all nodes, and the final results are the aggregations of all votes.  

Also, expanding the network is more efficient than upgrading individual nodes on a smaller network. That is because the more extensive the network, the shorter the time taken to complete tasks. 

Just like any other technology, distributed networks also have their advantages and disadvantages. Their advantages include:

  • They are incredibly fault-tolerant. In case one node breaks down, the rest continue functioning normally.
  • They have high operating speeds due to the uniform distribution of work among all nodes.
  • They have enhanced transparency. Since the data within the network is shared evenly, every node owner can trust the transactions within the network.

Their disadvantages include:

  • They have high maintenance costs. In the case of decentralized networks, more resources are required to reconfigure them.
  • They are prone to coordination issues. In the absence of a node hierarchy, there are no superior nodes to oversee the functioning of the inferior nodes.

Forms of Distributed Networks.

Paul Brian first discussed distributed networks in 1964 in his paper ‘On Distributed Networks.’ Since then, it came up again in the Bitcoin blockchain technology.

There are several forms of distributed networks. They differ according to their application in the different types of computing systems. For example, in web development, the client/server distributed network is its primary feature. When you dive into the world of cryptocurrencies, the distributed network takes up a decentralized form. In this setup, one node can instruct another one to carry out specific tasks. Decentralized networking is the basis for blockchain technology.

Decentralized distributed networks are applied in blockchain technology since blockchains rely on data distribution and computer power-sharing. Additionally, this form of networking provides anonymity which is crucial to cryptos. Networks of this sort are gaining popularity among companies that wish to establish their solutions for cloud computing and data sharing bottlenecks.