A decentralized network is one of the options that exist to manage a network, with different teams that need to connect and access data, for example. We are going to explain what exactly it consists of, where it is used and what are the positive and negative points it has. In this way we can have a better knowledge to opt for this type of network or another alternative.
What is a decentralized network
In a decentralized network, different nodes will act, without there being a single central server. As its name suggests, it is not centralized in a single computer through which all connections have to pass. This makes all the nodes connect to each other.
If we think of a computer network, being decentralized means that workloads will be distributed among different teams. They do not depend on the central server. It is also known as distributed processing. It also works as if it were a tree, in which the information passes through different intermediate nodes until it reaches the end.
Since each node is independently in control, each node can also set its own rules . It makes the network more scalable, since a new device can be added without major problems.
Therefore, we can say that a decentralized network is one in which there is no single central node, but rather a center made up of different devices. If one of them fails, it does not directly affect the rest. It is a difference with respect to centralized networks, in which in case of failure of the central server, everything falls.
Advantages and disadvantages
As is often the case with any type of network, it has positive and negative points. This will make us put a scale with each of them and see if we are interested or not. We are going to see what are the main advantages of decentralized networks and also the disadvantages that we can find.
The first advantage is that there is no centralized node . This is going to free us from problems, since in case there was an error in that central server, the rest would be affected. In decentralized networks that does not happen. If a piece of equipment has a fault, it does not necessarily affect the rest for their normal operation.
There is also greater scalability . We can easily add devices to the network and thus be able to take advantage of its power. We would not be so limited.
In addition, privacy is another important factor that we must highlight. In this type of network, the information does not pass directly through a central server. That can put data at risk and even become a major problem. However, in a decentralized area this does not happen, as it passes through several different points. It is more complicated to trace a network.
Although security has its advantages and disadvantages, if we focus on the positive we can say that it is more complicated for an attacker to bring down the entire network. This is so since, in case of attacking a device on that network, it will not affect the rest that make it up.
But decentralized networks also have their negative points and one of them is that it will require more devices to work well. This also means more maintenance and more chances of something going wrong and an additional load on resources.
Another disadvantage is that it is a more complex system . It is more difficult to build and manage by its very nature. It is not focused on a single server, but will require more connected devices, which must be updated and configured correctly.
Precisely the latter that we mentioned also makes it a security problem . As there are more teams, it is necessary that all of them are correctly patched. It is more complicated that there is not one that has become obsolete or that has some vulnerability.
On the other hand, these machines are often less efficient in terms of energy. It is common for the information to travel through several devices, from one to another, and that will also mean greater latency. We are talking about loss of time that we would not have in the case of a centralized network.
where is it used
We have seen what a decentralized network is and what its main positive and negative points are. Now, where are they really used? Let’s see the most common uses they have.
A clear example of the use of decentralized networks is the Blockchain or, in Spanish, chain of blocks. The information is grouped into different blocks and serves to transmit data, which is verified between the different blocks. It is used in the field of cryptocurrencies, for example. But also for databases or different payment systems and bank transactions.
Another very good example is P2P networks , to download files. In this case we are not downloading data from a centralized server, but that information, those files, are hosted on multiple nodes. Basically they are the users who have that data and others can download it. A classic is Emule.
However, over time many decentralized network projects have emerged. Decentralized messaging programs, applications to make video calls, etc.
Conclusions of this type of networks
In short, we can say that decentralized networks are widely used in different sectors today. Especially in current technology, such as Blockchain and everything related to cryptocurrencies. In many cases, it is even considered as a payment method that will be very present in the future and that could unseat the use of cards or cash in certain cases.
However, as we have seen, it has its positive and negative points. The fact that they do not depend on a centralized server for their operation means that we can use more devices connected to each other, but that also has limitations and even security problems. But in general terms, what we can say is that it is an option that focuses more on privacy, due to the fact that it is more difficult to track.