Peer-to-peer technologies are used to facilitate real-time communication and collaboration across distributed networks.

In the peer-to-peer model, without using Internet servers, each PC user can do the following:

  • Exchange data
  • Share resources
  • Locate other users
  • Communicate
  • Collaborate directly in real time

By using peer-to-peer technologies, applications that coordinate the use of computer CPU cycles and storage can share resources among small or large groups of computers connected to the Internet.

Where applicable

Developers can use the Peer Infrastructure to create a wide range of distributed, ad-hoc, and peer-to-peer applications.

Developer audience

Developers using the Peer Infrastructure should be familiar with C programming concepts. Developers using the PNRP Winsock Namespace Provider should be familiar with the Winsock API.

Run-time requirements

The Peer Infrastructure is supported in Windows Vista, Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and later as well the Advanced Networking Pack for Windows XP available for Windows XP with Service Pack 1 (SP1). The Peer-to-Peer Infrastructure requires that IPv6 be installed and initiated to allow peer networking applications to function. Use of Peer-to-Peer Collaboration is only supported in Windows Vista .

In this section


Peer Infrastructure

Information about the Peer Infrastructure and the Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP).

Peer Collaboration

Information and reference material specific to the Peer Collaboration API.

Peer Distribution

Information and reference material specific to the Peer Distribution API.


Additional resources

Further information regarding Peer-to-Peer technologies can be found at the following locations:

Windows Peer Networking Resources

Access published white-papers, samples, and presentations detailing the Peer Networking technology.

Microsoft Peer Networking Blog

Read the latest blog entries from Microsoft's Peer Networking Team.

MSDN Peer Networking Forum

Discuss Peer technologies and collaborate with other developers.

TechNet Peer Networking Resources for IT Professionals

A conceptual Peer Networking overview, as well as guidance, specific to the IT Professional role.




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