Definition of peer-to-peer network in The Network Encyclopedia.
A peer-to-peer network has no special server for authenticating users. Each computer manages its own security, so a separate user account might need to be created for each computer that a user needs to access. Users usually store files on their own computers and are responsible for ensuring that those files are appropriately backed up. In a peer-to-peer network, each computer typically runs both client and server software and can be used to make resources available to other users or to access shared resources on the network.
Peer-to-peer networks are simple to set up and are often ideal for small businesses that have fewer than 10 computers and that cannot afford a server-based solution. The disadvantages of peer-to-peer networks are poor security and lack of centralized file storage and backup facilities.
Microsoft Windows 98 is an ideal operating system for peer-to-peer networks. Networking is easy to set up and configure, folders and printers can be shared, user profiles allow multiple users to share one computer, and you can create an office intranet using the Microsoft Personal Web Server.