The WinMX Peer Network (WPN)

Primary Connections

Secondary Connections

Primary Start-up, Contacting the WinMX Peer Cache

Secondary Start-up, Contacting the WinMX Peer Cache

 

Have you ever wondered how the WinMX program works, what a ?Primary? or ?Secondary? connection is?  How files are transferred? Why it?s called a ?decentralised? network, and how that makes it different from networks such as the now outlawed Napster network? In this document I?ll try to explain all the common questions about the WinMX Peer Network and how it works.

 


Primary Connections

There are 2 methods to connect to the WinMX Peer Network, the first is to make a 'Secondary' connection, and the other a 'Primary' connection.  Primary connections are the most important part of the network, without them there simply wouldn?t be a network to connect to.  The Primary computers handle all of the connections within the network that forms, they also handle all of the search requests made by users, whois requests, browsing of users shared file lists, instant messaging, and decentralized Chat rooms.

One of the most important aspects of a Primary connection is that it also hosts those people who cannot operate a Primary connection, these are often people who are on a less capable Internet connection that would simply get bogged down with trying to handle the tasks that a Primary has to do.  To be a Primary connection requires a reasonable amount of bandwidth to operate, for this reason Primary connections are limited to those on Cable, DSL, T1 or T3+ connections.  These are often quite capable connections, which have little problem handling the flow of search requests and results that make up the WinMX Peer Network.  These Primary connections allow those with the less capable connections, and those who cannot operate as a Primary connection join into the network.  The less capable connections that the Primary
users host are called Secondary connections?

 

1.0. Primary Connection

 

 

Secondary Connections

Secondary connections are WinMX users that can?t operate as a Primary for a number of reasons, the most common being that the Internet connection is not capable of handling the data that a Primary needs to, but also those with incorrectly configured Firewalls, Routers, slow PC?s (less than a 266MHz CPU detected), complex LAN setups, and any number of other reasons that make it difficult to operate as a Primary connection.

By default, WinMX sets up who becomes a Primary or Secondary connection according to how it?s configured when installed. 
users who specify either Unknown, 14.4K Modem, 28.8K Modem, 33.6K Modem, 56K Modem, ISDN 64K, or ISDN 128K are automatically setup to operate as a Secondary connection.  This means these types won?t participate in the operation of the WinMX network other than to allow users access to their shared files.  WinMX will also force a user to make a Secondary connection if it detects a processor of less than 266MHz in the machine, or if the user has set ?Firewalled? or ?LAN? modes in the Settings menu.  This is because it takes a reasonable amount of computing power to process and handle all the network requests that a Primary does, and also because user in Firewalled mode or behind incorrectly configured LAN gateways can often have trouble allowing the connections to and from the WinMX Peer Network, which are needed in order to successfully operate as a Primary connection.

 

2.0. Secondary Connection

 

 

Primary Start-up, Contacting the WinMX Peer Cache

This part explains what happens when a user configured to operate as a Primary connection starts WinMX, and goes on to show the result of many Primary users hooking up together to form the WinMX Peer Network.

When the Primary
user starts WinMX, the first thing it does is connect to the Peer Cache servers at Frontcode (WinMX Headquarters).  When it connects to the Peer Cache it leaves a record of its address there, which the Peer Cache server retains in order to enable other Primary and Secondary users to connect to you.  Now, the other reason the Primary needs to contact the Peer Cache server is for an address of another Primary user on the WPN, so it can connect into the network.  The Peer Cache server will now look at its stored list of Primary users it has on the network, and in turn reply to the connecting Primary with an address to connect to.

 

3.0. The Primary user contacts the Peer Cache to request an address to connect to, and leaves it?s own address.

 

3.1. The Peer Cache server sends the Primary user an Address to connect to.

 

When the Primary user receives an IP address to connect to from the Peer Cache, it then proceeds to contact the address and attempts to establish a connection.  If the address it?s connecting to is accepting more Primary connections then they remain connected.  This connection to another Primary user on the WPN is it?s first link into the network, and from this point the functions of the WinMX client can be used, such as searching for files, joining Chat rooms, etc.

Now, the Primary WinMX client doesn?t stop at connecting to only a single other Primary
user, it then proceeds to connect to several more until is has around 4 to 6 connections (on average, sometimes more, sometimes less).  The WinMX client once again contacts the Peer Cache for additional addresses in which to connect to.  The effect this has is to make for a stronger and highly interwoven network that increases search results and provides for a more efficient operation of the network.

The diagram below shows how the network could look when many Primary
users have contacted each other and linked up together, all the Primary users simply contacted the Peer Cache for addresses of each other, and hooked up together.  These Primary connections form the core of the network and are essential for the operation of it.

 

4.0. Many Primary users link together to form the core of the Peer Network.

 

If you look at WinMX operating when running in Primary mode, you?ll notice it displays these Primary connections at the top of the window as ?P=4, S=2, SPM=5256? kinda thing.  The ?P=4? in the display represents the amount of links the client has with other Primary users on the WinMX Peer Network.  If you look at the above picture you can see how some of the Primary users have 3 connections (P=3), some have 4, some 5, etc, and the more Primary connections the user has, the better the experience will be on the network, better search results and more users available to download from, and upload to.

 

 

Secondary Start-up, Contacting the WinMX Peer Cache

Sorry this is as far as I've got, one day I'll get around to typing the rest up, maybe.