Crypto Terms: Letter R

What are Relay Nodes?

Relay Nodes MEANING:
Relay Nodes - network nodes that create communication paths between block-building nodes.
2 minutes

Let's find out Relay Nodes meaning, definition in crypto, what are Relay Nodes, and all other detailed facts.

Relay nodes are blockchain network nodes that create communication paths throughout the network. They can help significantly reduce the time required to relay messages within the blockchain network.

Blockchain networks consist of numerous nodes – computers that maintain the network and are used to connect to the decentralized system. The entire functionality of blockchain technologies is built on the network nodes. Most blockchain networks are decentralized, and the nodes can be located anywhere in the world.

Decentralization can make the overall network more resilient to outside attacks and attempts to breach it. The more nodes connect to a decentralized system, the stronger the network’s defense systems are.

The primary purpose of relay nodes is to reduce network noise and create a clear communication path. They essentially act as network hubs connecting both the nodes involved in the block building process and the rest of the relay nodes.

Relay nodes audit the information on the network by checking for duplicates, validating signatures, and performing other data checks. Only the data that has been verified as valid can be transmitted through the network.

Like other decentralized nodes, anyone can run a relay node. However, they are most commonly running close to internet exchange points to optimize the network speed. Relay nodes can run more efficiently when connected to wireless networks.

The speed of the relay can be optimized by segmenting their hops into shorter intervals. That way, the network load is reduced and distributed more evenly throughout the relay network, and the risk of path loss can be significantly reduced. However, the efficiency of the relay network highly depends on the technology used to run the nodes.

The Algorand blockchain platform uses relay nodes to maintain the network paths between all types of nodes—participation and relay—connected throughout.

The relay nodes send messages on the network to check for data duplications, confirm the validity of signatures, and perform other procedures. Only the valid data is transmitted to the network, reducing the network load and transmission time, as invalid messages do not flood the paths. 

In principle, relay and participation nodes are similar and require the same software to connect to the Algorand network. However, there are certain specifications for the different types of nodes. Therefore, the relay nodes must be configured accordingly.

The key distinction between the nodes can be made only if a user configures any node to observe how it listens to and transmits messages to the rest of the network. A node must meet two criteria to be considered a relay:

  • The node has been configured to accept inbound traffic on a public port;
  • The IP address of the node is available on the Algorand service records.

Relay nodes act as connection points for other networks. Therefore, they must handle a large number of connections at once. The power levels required by a relay node also have to handle data transfer processes between all connected nodes.