Supernode (networking)

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In peer-to-peer networking, a supernode is any node that also serves as one of that network's relayers and proxy servers, handling data flow and connections for other users. This semi-distributed architecture allows data to be decentralized without requiring excessive overhead at every node. However, the increased workload of supernodes generally requires additional network bandwidth and central processing unit (CPU) time.

Some peer-to-peer designs allow for the user to control whether their node is a supernode; others do not. For example, Skype by default is configured as a supernode, an issue that has caused controversy.[citation needed] Despite criticism, Skype has contended that supernodes on their network act only to maintain information about who is online at a given time, and are not used to route calls between users. Beginning with version 3.0, Skype allows a user to avoid becoming a supernode by modifying the Windows Registry.

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