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Definition: The term P2P refers to "peer-to-peer" networking. A peer-to-peer network allows computer hardware and software to function without the need for special server devices. P2P is an alternative to client-server network design.

P2P is a popular technology for file sharing software applications like Kazaa, WinMX and Overnet. P2P technology helps the P2P client applications upload and download files over the P2P network services.

P2P technology can also be found in other places. Microsoft Windows XP (starting with Service Pack 1), for example, contains a component called "Windows Peer-to-Peer Networking." P2P is especially popular in homes where an expensive, decidated server computer is neither necessary nor practical.

Finally, the P2P acronym has acquired a non-technical meaning as well. Some people have described this second meaning of "P2P" as "people-to-people." From this perspective, P2P is a model for developing software and growing businesses that help individuals on the Internet meet each other and share common interests. So-called social networking technology is an example of this concept.

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