Peer to peer networking is when items are shared on individual machines and there is not a single central machine that contains the information or devices. The two common ways are sharing in your individual network and sharing across the Internet. Peer to peer networks are often referred to as P2P networks. There is no central device on a peer to peer network so all the devices are peers or are equal.
Most people use peer to peer networking on small networks like in their home that they may not even realize is a network. When you mark a device or files to share you have setup a peer to peer network. When you have several computers using your Internet connection at home you have a network setup and are probably using a peer to peer network. You may have items on your computer like files or pictures that you share so others at your home can access these also from their machine, but are stored on your computer. You may also have a printer connected to on PC that everyone else in your home uses. However it is a local printer since the computer it is attached to must be on for anyone else to use the printer from their PC.
You will often see the term peer to peer networking used in terms of sharing files, games, music etc. across the Internet. In this case there is no central location where the files are kept but they ae kept on lots of different people’s computers. There are lots of different peer to peer networks where people share these files like gneutella, LimeWire and others. You have to be careful in using these as some are illegal and often viruses and other malware are spread across them. Often when you play games on the Internet you are using peer to peer networks to play with others. Peer to peer networks are an easy way for people to share information, but just be careful and make sure your anti-malware programs are current and working.
The other approach of networking is client server where the information is kept on one central computer.