I'm looking for a visual (preferred) or a description of what Ethereum "looks" like to a network architect.

For example, in contrasting Bitcoin, it consists of:

"Full nodes"

  • runs C++ code
  • Uses QT for cross platform graphics
  • Peers use a mesh P2P discovery engine that uses port 8333
  • Uses 80GB of disk space for the blockchain


  • ASIC hardware that calculates a hash

SPV Wallet

  • A lightweight method for a wallet to send and receive transactions without running a "full node"

(These are incomplete skeleton entries that describe Bitcoin. This post is about Ethereum ;)

So, that being said, what are the major software components of Ethereum?

How do they connect?

What are they used for?

1 Answer 1


As of now (Homestead release) there is only one node implementation, however the may be customisations across instances. Most notably:

  • mining is not enabled by default on an Ethereum node, but can be selectively enabled as a config option
  • if mining is enabled, you may want to run your Ethereum node on a HW platform that is more efficient at the types of computations required for the mining computations (note that Ethereum mining computations are ASIC resistant, but you will still get better odds on a platform with plenty of GPU and RAM capacity).
  • if you're into mining, then you may want to add your node to a mining pool

Beyond the Homestead release, there are plans for the introduction of a light client.

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