Should You Adopt a decentralized network?
Simply put, the traditional network design isn’t up to today’s massive loads. With millions of consumers streaming content, saving/syncing files to cloud services, using edge computing, deploying containers, adopting blockchain, and more, the old-school network topology simply can’t keep up.
To make matters worse, when you have a central point of failure, it will eventually fail.
That’s the downfall of a centralized network—data must flow through a central point. Because of this, the centralized network struggles under peak usage and doesn’t enjoy the stability and reliability of today’s users require.
When networks and the internet started to take a flight back in the 90s, less than 1% of the world’s population was online. Today, there are now more than 4 billion people online according to Statista. That’s 58% of the global population. The original network configuration—with only a small number of companies housing and controlling the servers that power the internet—fails to keep up with current demands.
And it doesn’t end on the WAN side of things. Businesses are also suffering from lagging networks that can’t handle the high demands placed on their centralized networks.
That’s why the decentralized network comes into play.
What Is A Decentralized Network?
Consider your current network setup. You probably have one server handling web, one handling database, one handling routing. Or worse, your business has a single server managing all of those services. That can lead to severe bottlenecks on your network. Those bottlenecks can get so bad, even your IT outsourcing services can’t help you.
When you have a centralized point of connectivity, every data packet must be sent through that one server before it can be distributed to its destination. Imagine if that single, centralized server had to handle a load of hundreds or thousands of users all day every day.
It would struggle at best – and fail at worst.
Your business can’t depend on such a design. That’s what decentralized networks come to solve. With them, the network load is distributed among peer-to-peer networks that are built upon an entire community of users, none of which are ever in control. On the WAN side of things, it means control is stripped from the usual governing bodies (such as governments and ISPs) and distributed to hundreds or thousands of nodes that offer internet access to users.
When you decentralize the network, you have any given website or network service spread across those nodes. Thus, no single server can act as the sole proprietor of the data. With this model, that same content and information can be accessed from any of the given nodes.
On the LAN side of things, you would migrate control from a single server for a service, to numerous servers for that same service. This is very similar to a Kubernetes cluster, where you deploy a single container that can scale up and failover to any of the cluster nodes as needed. The only difference between the Kubernetes cluster and the decentralized LAN network is that no device is actually in control.
It is the decentralized network that would allow blockchain to truly flourish. By definition, blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger. A fully decentralized network, working with the decentralized blockchain, would completely do away with centralized authorities (such as governments and ISPs), allowing the technology to thrive and reach its full potential.
Should You Adopt a decentralized network?
Outside of avoiding monopolies and maximizing blockchain’s power, why should a decentralized network be put into place? There are a couple of very easy answers to this question.
The first is reliability. When you spread the burden of services across numerous devices, you automatically have failover. Should one device on that decentralized network go down, another will already be in place to pick up the slack. For example, you could have hundreds of servers hosting the same sites on that decentralized network. Should Server A go down, Server B, C, D (and so on) will still be serving up the same sites. It’s inherent redundancy, backup, and failover all in one.
Another benefit of the decentralized network is privacy. Although it might sound counter to what you consider secure, instead of all data passing through a single point, in a decentralized network that data is passing through numerous, random points. If a hacker breaks into a centralized network, they only need to find their way to that single point of entry to collect all of the data going around the network.
With the decentralized network, that data randomly passes through the network, so there’s no telling where it might be or go at any given time. This means that hackers must work harder to locate and steal your data packets.
So, for any person or business looking for greater reliability and security, a decentralized network would be the way to go.
Why Decentralized Networks Are Not Being Adopted
Aside from the obvious fact that big companies don’t want to relinquish their control, the biggest hurdle to the decentralized networks is latency. In order to have a decentralized network that functions seamlessly and without lag, you’d need incredibly powerful servers. Those servers are expensive. That’s why most decentralized networks are comprised of lesser-powered machines.
It should come as no surprise that when you power a decentralized network with subpar hardware, you’ll get a subpar experience. Until someone creates a compression algorithm that can assist that underpowered hardware, the idea of a decentralized network will remain a pipe dream for most. It’s not an impossibility, it’s just a challenge.
One that we will someday meet.