What is a federated network? [...]

There’s various different definitions for decentralised networks with not a great deal of agreement.  A  workable middle ground, is that a federated network is a distributed network with each node of this distributed network being a centralized network. Such a federated network is a type of decentralized network, with another type of such a network being the distributed network.

“The most sensible approach might be that of Narayanan et al, who use “decentralized” as an umbrella label that includes both federated and distributed networks. Semantically this is a solid categorization, as both types of network are indeed not centralized. As both federated and distributed networks have “not being centralized” as one of their main distinguishing features, it makes sense to include them in one category based on that characteristic.

Looking at just the “federated” label, what most authors seem to agree on is that a federated network is the same “distributed network of centralized networks” that Baran called decentralized. So in that sense, “federated” has replaced “decentralized” in its original meaning, while “decentralized” has been adopted in various different ways, mostly as an umbrella term. This is a reasonable redefinition, considering the fact that a distributed network could technicallyalso be considered to be decentralized, and the close resemblance of the federated structure to the structure of a political federation, where autonomous sub-entities (such as American states) form one single larger entity (the United States).

The most workable middle ground, then, seems to be that a federated network is a distributed network with each node of this distributed network being a centralized network. Such a federated network is a type of decentralized network, with another type of such a network being the distributed network.” (Source)

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