So where does libp2p fit into the current web? The web is built on a complex system of networking protocols, some of which are familiar to end users, like HTTP and ethernet, and some of which are only familiar to networking specialists.
Usually, we look at the OSI Model (Open Systems Interconnection Model) to understand which layer a protocol tries to tackle.
But the truth is, the
OSI Model as well as the
TCP/IP Model are just conceptual models. The actual implementations in the current web do not follow these models exactly, and are much less tidy, e.g. the
TCP/IP Protocol Suite shown above.
In the end, these models have some shortcomings:
libp2p set out to do something different when it became apparent that following these rigid conceptual models was not ideal - others were already breaking them. By allowing users to select and configure just the pieces of a network stack that they need, libp2p has created a new way to maintain and upgrade applications with a secure, reliable, and modular network stack.
Feeling stuck? We'd love to hear what's confusing so we can improve this lesson. Please share your questions and feedback.