Client Server Network | Difference between Client Server and Peer to Peer Network
Network Architecture defines how a network functions. This indicates whether all computers in the network have the same role or certain computers have some special role in the network. Accordingly we have either a client-server network or a peer to peer network.
Client Server Network
A client server network uses a distributed computing scheme whereby interaction takes place between two programs communicating across a network. In this model an application is split into a front end client component with which the user machine interacts, and a back end server component which processes the data.
In a client-server environment a server is therefore a special computer, which all the other computers in the network connect to as clients for processing data. It is capable of handling multiple connections from different sources simultaneously. Since a server is used to server other computers, these have high-end components as compared to other computers in the network. It also has built in fault tolerance mechanisms to handle system failures.
A client on the other hand is usually a low end computer. It depends on the services provided by the server to carry out various operations. The client sends a request to the server for the specific operations that may include file operations, print jobs, database access etc. the server in turn answers the request by sending back the specific requirement to the client. Client computers in client-server network communicate with the server with the help of a set of common languages or protocols like TCP/IP.
Corporate networks are usually client-server networks as they offer better security features. Applications in the internet also follow a client server approach, where the user acts as a client to request for an Internet service from a specific server.
Advantages of using client-server architecture
Files stored on high speed file servers can be easily made available to the clients.
It reduces the load on client computers as processing of complex queries takes place on the server computer that is specially equipped for these operations.
Since data is stored centrally in the server, updates need to be carried out at a single place.
As a server has greater security controls that client computers, servers guarantee that only those clients with the appropriate permissions may access and change data.
Disadvantages of using client-server architecture
In case the server stops working, the request made by client computers cannot be served.
With increase in number of client requests to a given server, the server can become overload.
Peer to Peer Networks (P2P Networks)
In client server architecture a server usually controls access to other clients. However a peer-to-peer network architecture allows the client computers to bypass server and directly communicate with other computers. Win-9X, XP, 2007 etc. have P2P and networking support which allows any computer to establish a communication with another computer.
In a peer-to-peer network system, there is thus no particular computer as such, which acts as a server. In general each computer in the network acts both as a client and as a server as per the requirement. Each computer has its own hard disk and can work independently if required. Network resources like printers, scanners etc. can be connected to any computer in the network and can be shared by all the computers.
Advantages of using peer to peer architecture
It is relative less expensive to setup, eliminating the need for costly servers.
It makes network fast by reducing network traffic load on busy centralised servers.
Problem faced due to breakdown of a central server does not arise in this type of network.
It is relatively easier to set up the network.
Disadvantages of using peer to peer architecture
There is a lack of Central server based administration.
Since data is not protected by the traditional server based security mechanism, it is less secure and prone to hacking.
Difference between client server and peer to peer networks
|Sr. No.||Client Server Network||Peer to Peer Network|
|1||In this architecture clients need to go through a server, which usually controls access to other clients.||This architecture allows a client computer to bypass servers and to directly communicate with other computers.|
|2||A dedicated computer acts as a server to the other computer or clients.||Each computer in the network acts both as a client and as a server as required.|
|3||It is more expensive and not that easy to set up a client server network as special purpose computers and software may be required.||It is less expensive and easier to set up a P2P network as no special requirement is there.|
|4||It is easier to administer a client-server network from the central server.||There is a lack of Central server based administration.|
|5||Security features of a server help to reduce data hacking.||It is less secure and easily hacked.|
|6||Operating systems include Windows server 2008, Novel Netware||Operating systems include Windows 9X, XP, Windows 2007|
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