Move KB articles to blog (#1867)

Move KB articles to blog (#1867)

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+---
+title: "Types of Communication Networks"
+icon: 'material/transit-connection-variant'
+---
+
+There are several network architectures commonly used to relay messages between people. These networks can provide different privacy guarantees, which is why it's worth considering your [threat model](../basics/threat-modeling.md) when deciding which app to use.
+
+[Recommended Instant Messengers](../real-time-communication.md){ .md-button }
+
+## Centralized Networks
+
+![Centralized networks diagram](../assets/img/layout/network-centralized.svg){ align=left }
+
+Centralized messengers are those where all participants are on the same server or network of servers controlled by the same organization.
+
+Some self-hosted messengers allow you to set up your own server. Self-hosting can provide additional privacy guarantees, such as no usage logs or limited access to metadata (data about who is talking to whom). Self-hosted centralized messengers are isolated and everyone must be on the same server to communicate.
+
+**Advantages:**
+
+- New features and changes can be implemented more quickly.
+- Easier to get started with and to find contacts.
+- Most mature and stable features ecosystems, as they are easier to program in a centralized software.
+- Privacy issues may be reduced when you trust a server that you're self-hosting.
+
+**Disadvantages:**
+
+- Can include [restricted control or access](https://drewdevault.com/2018/08/08/Signal.html). This can include things like:
+- Being [forbidden from connecting third-party clients](https://github.com/LibreSignal/LibreSignal/issues/37#issuecomment-217211165) to the centralized network that might provide for greater customization or a better experience. Often defined in Terms and Conditions of usage.
+- Poor or no documentation for third-party developers.
+- The [ownership](https://web.archive.org/web/20210729191953/https://blog.privacytools.io/delisting-wire/), privacy policy, and operations of the service can change easily when a single entity controls it, potentially compromising the service later on.
+- Self-hosting requires effort and knowledge of how to set up a service.
+
+## Federated Networks
+
+![Federated networks diagram](../assets/img/layout/network-decentralized.svg){ align=left }
+
+Federated messengers use multiple, independent, decentralized servers that are able to talk to each other (email is one example of a federated service). Federation allows system administrators to control their own server and still be a part of the larger communications network.
+
+When self-hosted, members of a federated server can discover and communicate with members of other servers, although some servers may choose to remain private by being non-federated (e.g., work team server).
+
+**Advantages:**
+
+- Allows for greater control over your own data when running your own server.
+- Allows you to choose whom to trust your data with by choosing between multiple "public" servers.
+- Often allows for third-party clients which can provide a more native, customized, or accessible experience.
+- Server software can be verified that it matches public source code, assuming you have access to the server or you trust the person who does (e.g., a family member).
+
+**Disadvantages:**
+
+- Adding new features is more complex because these features need to be standardized and tested to ensure they work with all servers on the network.
+- Due to the previous point, features can be lacking, or incomplete or working in unexpected ways compared to centralized platforms, such as message relay when offline or message deletion.
+- Some metadata may be available (e.g., information like "who is talking to whom," but not actual message content if E2EE is used).
+- Federated servers generally require trusting your server's administrator. They may be a hobbyist or otherwise not a "security professional," and may not serve standard documents like a privacy policy or terms of service detailing how your data is used.
+- Server administrators sometimes choose to block other servers, which are a source of unmoderated abuse or break general rules of accepted behavior. This will hinder your ability to communicate with members of those servers.
+
+## Peer-to-Peer Networks
+
+![P2P diagram](../assets/img/layout/network-distributed.svg){ align=left }
+
+P2P messengers connect to a [distributed network](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_networking) of nodes to relay a message to the recipient without a third-party server.
+
+Clients (peers) usually find each other through the use of a [distributed computing](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_computing) network. Examples of this include [Distributed Hash Tables](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_hash_table) (DHT), used by [torrents](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_(protocol)) and [IPFS](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InterPlanetary_File_System) for example. Another approach is proximity based networks, where a connection is established over WiFi or Bluetooth (for example, Briar or the [Scuttlebutt](https://www.scuttlebutt.nz) social network protocol).
+
+Once a peer has found a route to its contact via any of these methods, a direct connection between them is made. Although messages are usually encrypted, an observer can still deduce the location and identity of the sender and recipient.
+
+P2P networks do not use servers, as peers communicate directly between each other and hence cannot be self-hosted. However, some additional services may rely on centralized servers, such as user discovery or relaying offline messages, which can benefit from self-hosting.
+
+**Advantages:**
+
+- Minimal information is exposed to third-parties.
+- Modern P2P platforms implement E2EE by default. There are no servers that could potentially intercept and decrypt your transmissions, unlike centralized and federated models.
+
+**Disadvantages:**
+
+- Reduced feature set:
+- Messages can only be sent when both peers are online, however, your client may store messages locally to wait for the contact to return online.
+- Generally increases battery usage on mobile devices, because the client must stay connected to the distributed network to learn about who is online.
+- Some common messenger features may not be implemented or incompletely, such as message deletion.
+- Your IP address and that of the contacts you're communicating with may be exposed if you do not use the software in conjunction with a [VPN](../vpn.md) or [Tor](../tor.md). Many countries have some form of mass surveillance and/or metadata retention.
+
+## Anonymous Routing
+
+![Anonymous routing diagram](../assets/img/layout/network-anonymous-routing.svg){ align=left }
+
+A messenger using [anonymous routing](https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5906-5_628) hides either the identity of the sender, the receiver, or evidence that they have been communicating. Ideally, a messenger should hide all three.
+

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