File sharing. In some computing circles the phrase is almost an obscenity. However, this should not necessarily be the case. File sharing represents a legitimate means of sharing files among individual users. This includes music files that are not under restrictive copyright. Such files frequently are found in the .MP3 format.
What Are P2P and MP3?
P2P and MP3 are acronyms that are frequently associated with file sharing and music downloads. P2P stands for peer-to-peer, which is file sharing that takes place between individuals; from one peer to another. While many P2P file sharing sites engage in and allow illegal music files, to be hosted on their servers, many other players in the P2P arena are legitimate.
MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer-3, where MPEG is a type of file compression that is applied to audio files to make them more compact for transmission. Without such compression, large audio files would be very difficult, if not impossible, to transmit from user to user – especially for those users who lack ample hard drive space.
Choose the Right P2P Client
Some P2P clients are only compatible with one or two music file formats. Especially if you have limited capacity on your computer, it is important to choose a P2P client that is compatible with the file types that you intend to download and listen to. Many people install a range of P2P clients so that they have compatibility with the largest number of potential file types. If you have the capacity on your computer, this is not a bad strategy. The Vuze bittorrent client is a reliable P2P client that has been around for years and supports most widely used music file formats. Their site also has a host of resources for downloading non-infringing creative commons licensed music and other content.
Adjust P2P Client Settings to Maximize Performance
You may have to mimic Goldilocks and the Three Bears to maximize the performance of your P2P. If your client is allowed too many resources, your computer could become unstable and prone to crashes. However, if you allot too few resources to your P2P client, any files you access and utilize will drag and have spotty performance. The proper balance will allow your computer to operate with stability while obtaining optimal performance from your P2P client.
Ensure That Your Firewall Allows P2P Downloads
Your firewall’s main mission is to keep out unwanted files. However, the default setting on many firewalls is to exclude all P2P file and file sharing. If this is the case with your computer, you will need to adjust your firewall settings so that ports which the P2P needs to operate are open and accessible to your P2P file downloading client.
Speed Up Your Computer’s Internet Connection
You may have to tweak your network connection to maximize the performance of the client. Wi-Fi connections may or may not be strong enough to maintain a decent data transmission rate for P2P file sharing. Ethernet, USB or other wired connections may be a better bet, especially if you intent to engage in lengthy P2P sessions.
Minimize other operations on the computer. P2P file sharing is a resource-heavy operation. Combining it with background music played on your computer, multiple browser tabs open and other operations on the same computer can produce annoying lag.
Beware Extra Software Bundled Software
P2P file sharing clients are frequently bundled with several other software programs. This especially seems to be the case with free file sharing clients. While some of these extra files are useful and most are benign, other files may be malware. It is always a good practice to run a file through your virus scanner if you are unsure what it contains.
Grace Munson is interested in all things file sharing. When she’s not researching new methods, she’s writing about them online.