Ethereum nodes are machines that execute the software required to connect to the Ethereum network. Nevertheless, running a full node involves a significant time and money investment due to the specialized hardware, maintenance overhead, and lengthy setup time. Because of their minimal bandwidth and storage needs, light nodes are an excellent option, allowing users to access the blockchain through laptops and cell phones.
A light node is a low-cost Ethereum node that just downloads Ethereum block headers or the bare minimum of data required to transact on the Ethereum network. A light node, as opposed to full and archive nodes, is the most basic kind of node required to get started with Ethereum.
How do Light Nodes Work?
Light nodes interact with the Ethereum blockchain with the least amount of data feasible and outsource all other information to full nodes, whereas full nodes keep complete blockchain data and participate in block verification and validation.
Light nodes connect with the Ethereum blockchain on a need-to-use basis via block headers containing summary information about the contents of the blocks. A full node is contacted for any further information necessary by the light node. This approach enables light nodes to communicate with the network more effectively, saving megabytes of bandwidth and gigabytes of storage.
What are the Benefits and Possible Downsides of Light Nodes
The most significant advantage of hosting light nodes is the low barrier to entry owing to low bandwidth and storage requirements, as well as the cost-effectiveness of running a lightweight version of the Ethereum blockchain.
Light nodes may be operated on devices such as laptops and smartphones, allowing for significantly wider access to data on the blockchain, whereas full nodes and archive nodes require a significant amount of hardware, storage, and maintenance time to function. Light nodes, as opposed to full nodes, are quick, efficient, and very simple to utilize.
Nevertheless, because light nodes lack the complete capability and rely on full nodes for data, they cannot participate in consensus, implying that they cannot be validators. The data retrieval procedure is messy, time-consuming, frequently fails, and is far slower than simply running a full node and retrieving the information oneself. As a result, if frequent data retrieval is anticipated, light nodes are not the best choice.