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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

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15 How can Skype and BitTorrent be free?

We just went through some of the key concepts behind the TCP/IP thin waist of the Internet protocol stack. We will now go through five more chapters on technology networks, focusing on two major trends: massive amounts of content distribution and the prevalent adoption of mobile wireless technologies.

Scaling up the distribution of content, including video content, can be carried out either through the help of peers or by using large data centers. These two approaches, P2P and cloud, are described in this chapter and the next, respectively. In particular, P2P illustrates a key principle behind the success of the Internet: under-specify protocols governing the operation of a network so that an overlay ...

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