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HORNET Node Peering

The IOTA network is a distributed network. It uses a gossip protocol to broadcast data among nodes. To participate in a network, each node has to establish a secure connection to other nodes in the network (to its peer neighbors), and mutually exchange messages.

Node Identity

Each node can be uniquely identified by a peer identity. Peer identity (also called PeerId) is represented by a public and private key pair. Since PeerId is a cryptographic hash of a peer's public key, the PeerId represents a verifiable link between the given peer and its public key. It enables individual peers to establish a secure communication channel as the hash can be used to verify an identity of the peer.

When HORNET is started for the first time, it will automatically generate a PeerId and save the identity's private key in the ./p2pstore/identity.key file. HORNET will keep the generated identity between subsequent restarts.

Each time HORNET starts, the PeerId is written to stdout:

2022-07-19T13:27:18+02:00   INFO    P2P peer configured, ID: 12D3KooWF4B2jdZbSZFX1Z9PPKp2YQs58Hh2WfnoMKYx7yuzVx53

Your PeerId is an essential part of your multiaddr used to configure neighbors. For example, /dns/, where 12D3KooWHiPg9gzmy1cbTFAUekyLHQKQKvsKmhzB7NJ5xnhK4WKq corresponds to your PeerId. Your PeerId is also visible on the start page of the dashboard.

You can find more information on the PeerId in the libp2p docs page.

Addressing Peer Neighbors

To communicate to your peer neighborsDirectly connected network nodes that can exchange messages without intermediary nodes., you will need an address to reach them. For that, HORNET uses the MultiAddresses format (also known as multiaddr).

multiaddr is a convention on how to encode multiple layers of addressing information into a single path structure that is future-proof. Basically, multiaddr combines several pieces of information in a single human-readable and machine-optimized string, including network protocol and PeerId.

For example, a node is reachable using IPv4 using TCP on port 15600 and its PeerId is 12D3KooWHjcCgWPnUEP8wNdbL2fx63Cmosk16xyZ25iUZagxmHb4. A multiaddr encoding of this information would look like this:


Consider how ip4 is used. A common mistake is to use ipv4.

If a node is reachable using a DNS name (for example, then the given multiaddr would be:


You will need to find out your own multiaddr to give to your peers for neighboring. To do so, combine the peerId you received from the stdout when the HORNET node started up, and your configured p2p.bindAddress. Replace the /ip4/<ip_address>//dns/<hostname> segments with the actual information.

You can find more information about multiaddr at the libp2p docs page.

Adding Node Peers

Once you know your node's own multiaddr, it can be exchanged with other node owners to establish a mutual peer connection. We recommended several peer neighbors between 4-6 to get some degree of redundancy.

Finding Neighbors

You can join the official IOTA Discord server and the #nodesharing channel. There, you will be able to describe your node location (Europe, Asia, etc.), with your allocated high watermark resources and ask for neighbors.


Do not publicly disclose your node multiaddr to all readers but wait for an individual direct chat.

You can add peers using the HORNET dashboard. To do so, go to Peers and click on Add Peer. You can also add peers on the peering.json file.

This is peering.json example, with ip4, ip6 and dns peers:

"peers": [
"alias": "Node1",
"multiAddress": "/ip4/"
"alias": "Node2",
"multiAddress": "/ip6/2001:db8:3333:4444:5555:6666:7777:8888/tcp/16600/p2p/12D3KooWJDqHjhd8us8XdbKy1Adp5nV6XoI7XhjZbPWAfbAbkLbH"
"alias": "Node3",
"multiAddress": "/dns/"


HORNET also supports automatic discovery of peers through the autopeeringA mechanism enabling nodes to select their neighbors automatically, without the node operator's manual intervention. module. To minimize service distribution in case your autopeered peers are flaky, we recommend you only use autopeering if you have at least four static peers.

Autopeering is disabled by default. If you want to enable it, set the "p2p.autopeering.enabled" value to "true". See the configuration reference for more information.


The autopeering plugin will disclose your public IP address to possibly all nodes and entry points. Do not enable this plugin if you do not want this to happen!

Your node will use the specified entry nodes under p2p.autopeering.entryNodes to find new peers. entryNodes are also encoded as multiaddr:


where the /autopeering portion defines the base58 encoded Ed25519 public key.

By default, HORNET will peer up to four autopeered peers and initiate a gossip protocol with them.

Entry Node

If you want to run your own node as an autopeering entry node, you should enable p2p.autopeering.runAsEntryNode. The base58 encoded public key is in the output of the p2pidentity-gen HORNET tool. Alternatively, if you already have an identity in a p2pstore, you can use the p2pidentity-extract HORNET tool to extract it.

Low/High Watermark

The p2p.connectionManager.highWatermark and p2p.connectionManager.lowWatermark configuration options define "watermark" points. Watermark points can be considered like a filling basin where if the highWatermark is reached, water will be drained until it reaches the lowWatermark again. Similarly, the connection manager within HORNET will start trimming away connections to peers if highWatermark peers are connected until it reaches lowWatermark count of peers. These watermarks exist for a certain buffer number of peers to be connected, which will not necessarily be targeted by the gossip protocol.