There's a lot more to a computer network, than just physical connections and device setups. Who is part of the network and who is not, what data is present and where ... are just a few considerations that go into a computer network. In a network, each entity has a role to play, from the workstation being the input or working terminal, to a central machine for storing data and files or external devices like printers and fax machines, which are to be shared network resources.
A computer network is maintained following a paradigm or blueprint, to simplify setup, maintenance and functioning. Mentioned herein, are two such paradigms or network models which are very commonly used to establish a computer network are peer-to-peer and client server network architectures. Below is a listing of the differences between peer-to-peer and client server networks.
Peer-to-Peer Vs. Client Server Networks Comparison
|Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Model||Client Server Model|
|Decentralized form of networking architecture||Centralized form of networking architecture|
|The network access, tasks and workload are divided and shared amongst the various members. It is an "everyone pulls their own weight" sort of relationship||Working is based on a resource provider or storehouse (server) and the entities that require the resources (clients). The clients make requests to the server to access the resources. It is a "make a request and it will be granted" sort of service|
|Supply and consumption of resources is carried out by the peers, there is no higher body or "boss" and no separate entity exists to dole out resources. All peers in a network can request for resources as well as grant them||Two members of such a system are servers and clients. Servers contain the resources in the form of information or data. Certain resources like say printers, can be connected to the server and the client has to request access to the server, to use the printer|
|Members are called peers, they have the same privileges and rights and enjoy the same access to various data sources and devices. There is no difference between them in any manner. Peers communicate with each other directly, no need for a median in the middle||Clients are the respective workstations or computers that do not share their resources but work on their own and makes requests to the server for data or resources or functions|
|The Peer-to-Peer network paradigm is commonly used in P2P file sharing programs like Napster and Bitorrent||Email, banking services, even the HTTP protocol are all examples of client server model|
|Computers A, B, C and D are connected in a P2P network. Comp A wants a file from Comp C, it sends a request to C. C decides to accept the request, finds the file and sends it to A. B and D are ignorant to what is going on but function normally. There is a network printer to which all computers are connected to. A sends a request to print and B sends one too. A's request reached first, so it is granted. Then the printer will grant B's request|
|Client Server Model|
|Computer A is the server. Computers B, C and D are the clients. B wants to print a page. The printer is attached to Comp A. B will send a request to A, asking to print a page. A will print the page and respond to B. C wants to access a file, it will send a request to A, asking for the file. A will check C's credentials, C is not authorized to access the data, A will reject the request and respond to C by turning down its request|
|Peer-to-Peer Model||Client Server Model|
|2 types of peer-to-peer networks exist. Structured P2P arranges peers in a order or manner based on certain rules and algorithms. There is no change in privilege, just in the way the members communicate. Unstructured P2P have no such order or manner and consists of 3 models - pure, hybrid and centralized||There is no specific model or type of client-server networks. It's more like a mixed bag of different styles. For example, having two servers, one just for data and one for devices and clients have to make requests to 2 different entities for accessing such resources|
|The physical structure is independent from the underlying network structure of behavior. Peers can be arranged in any network topology but in small networks, are located near to each other physically. The computers are similar in software content and protocols used for networking||Physical structure is divided. Servers are powerful machines, designed for a dedicated purpose and should be robust to handle multiple transactions. Their hardware makeup is more powerful with more storage space or RAM and powerful processors. The server machine is normally contained in a different room with increased security and better environmental conditions. Clients are ordinary workstations, accessed by different users. They have their own data|
|Where Is This Model Used|
|Small businesses and home users||Big corporations or organizations with high security data|
Pros & Cons
|Client Server Model|
The above tables explain the differences between peer-to-peer and client server networks extensively, so ideally any doubts that you may have regarding the 2 types of networking models have been removed.