Computer Network Architecture
Definition of Computer Network Architecture
The term computer architecture defines how computers in a network system are set or organized and how tasks are allocated between computers in a given network. In simple words, Network architecture refers to the general layout of the network, which involves the hardware, software, connectivity, communication protocols and mode of transmission, such as wired or wireless.
It is important to Know about the types of network which are classified according to the areas covered such as LAN, MAN and WAN. When it comes to network topologies they are usually categorized according to the layout of equipment and computers and we end up having star, loop, bus, or mesh topologies.
The most common computer network architectures in use are the peer to peer and the client server.
Peer to Peer Network
When nodes or workstations perform the same communication functions, they are referred to as peers, in this network model, both server and client operations are performed by the same computer. Each user administers his/her workstation and the resources in it. In a peer-to-peer network, there are no dedicated servers, and there is no hierarchy among the computers.
All the computers are equal and therefore are known as peers. Each computer functions as both a client and a server, and there is no administrator responsible for the entire network. The client-server situation arises because the peers make a portion of their resources, such as processing power, disk storage or network bandwidth, directly available to other network participants. This is achieved without the need for central coordination by servers or stable hosts. The user on each computer determines which data on that computer is shared on the network.
Security is also managed by the user of the devices. This model is not quite secure and is suited for a small computer networks (with 10 computers or less) where users do not want to share files. User’s files are decentralized – they are not stored in a single location.
Peer to Peer Network Model
Criteria for Selecting Peer to Peer
- Where ten or fewer users will be sharing available resources.
- No server is available.
- Nobody has the time or knowledge to act as a network administrator.
- There is little or no concerns about security (security in data processing is the ability to protect data from unauthorized access or, theft or damage)
- The organization and the network will experience only limited growth within the foreseeable future.
Advantages of Using Peer to Peer
- They are easy to configure
- Computers communicate easily.
- They don’t require additional server hardware or software
- Users can manage their own resources.
- They don’t require a network administrator
- They reduce total cost of network setup.
Disadvantages of Using Peer to Peer
- They provide a limited number of connections for shared resources.
- Computers with shared resources suffer from sluggish performance.
- They don’t allow for central management
- Users are responsible for managing resources. These resources include data in shared directories, printers, fax cards, and so on.
- They offer very poor security as compared to the server based model.
Client-Server Network Model
Client Server Network Architecture
This is a network model that offers centralized access to services and devices. One computer plays the role of a server. It is the most common type of network architecture today that provides centralized data storage, security, manning of applications and network administration. Most servers operating system are Novel Netware, Windows NT, Apple talk, Linux, Banyan VINES etc...
- Cost: - More expensive in terms of hardware and network operating system.
- Complexity: - Experienced system administrators are required to manage the systems.
- Dependence: - When server goes down, operations will cease across the network.
- They are best suited for 10 or more users.
- Security: - All major server based systems provides sophisticated security.
- Administration: - Servers are centralized making them easier to manage.
- Stability: - Server based systems are designed to support a wide range of organization sizes. Additional servers are added to increase capacity.
- Client server networks offer centralized backup where data can be stored in one server.
- Flexibility - New technology can be easily integrated into the system.
- Accessibility - Server can be accessed remotely and across multiple platforms.
Client-Server Network Model
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© 2011 Patrick Kamau