Architecture of Computer Network - MetaTutorials

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Architecture of Computer Network


The architecture of the computer network describes how the computers are organized in the network and how the tasks or activities are allocated to all the connected computers.

The computer network architecture gives a complete overview of the established network with a detailed view of all the resources. It illustrates the physical and logical layout of the  hardware, protocols, software, and the transmission media of the data to be transmitted. 

Following are the two most widely used types of network architecture:
1. Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture
2. Client/Server Architecture

Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture

It is a network architecture that connects multiple computers together via the internet. All the connected computers in this architecture share the same resources and have equal capabilities and responsibilities.  

In this type of network architecture, activities are allocated among all the clients or computers of the network. Each client or machine associated with this network act as a server, so there is no dedicated central server for file storing.

This type of network architecture is useful in different areas such as education, military, business, etc for file sharing, voice communication, and instant messaging. 
Peer-to-Peer network is often called P2P architecture. Following are some examples of Peer-to-Peer network architecture:
1. Napster
2. Skype
3. Bitcoin 
4. Bit Torrent 
5. LimeWire, etc. 

Advantages of Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture

Following are the advantages of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network architecture:
1. One of the main advantages of this network architecture is that it is cost-effective because it does not require any dedicated central server. That's why it is cheaper and affordable. 
2. In this network architecture, if any computer fails and stops working, then the other computers are not affected and they will continue working. 
3. This network architecture is flexible because the new clients can be easily configured.  
4. It does not require any network administrator for maintaining the complete network.
5. This architecture of networking is very easy to set-up and manage the network.

Disadvantages of Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture

Following are the disadvantages of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network architecture: 
1. This network architecture does not contain any centralized server. So, it is hard to take the backup of data as the data is stored in different locations in the network. 
2. Another disadvantage of this architecture is security. Security is very less because each computer performs its tasks independently and contains its own data.  

Client/Server Network Architecture

It is a network architecture which allows multiple end-users (clients) to request and receive the services from the centralized server. 
In this networking architecture, clients request the services of the server to use, and the server waits for the request to receive from the client and then replies to the client. 

The server is the heart of the client/server network which maintains the major operations of the network and provides resources or services to any client according to the client's request. The server also helps to communicate among all the clients of the same network. 

For example, if any client machine wants to transfer its data to another client machine on the same network, then it has to send the request to the server first for taking permission. Then, the server initiates the communication between both the clients and allows the clients for sharing the data.  

Following are four examples of Client/Server network architecture:
1. Webserver
2. File server
3. Domain Name Server (DNS)
4. Mail server

Advantages of Client/Server Network Architecture

Following are the advantages of Client/Server network architecture:
1. This network architecture is simple to install and manage. 
2. It is the perfect network management architecture to keep all the data safe. Any user can easily find the data because the data is stored centrally. 
3. As compared to the peer-to-peer network, this architecture of the network provides high security. 
4. This network architecture has a centralized server which stores the data shared on the network. So, it is easy to take the backup of data as the data is stored in one place. 
5. The performance of this network architecture is good because of the dedicated centralized server. 
6. This network architecture also extends the speed of sharing resources among the client machines. 

Disadvantages of Client/Server Network Architecture

Following are the disadvantages of Client/Server network architecture:
1. As there is a need for a large server and various networking devices such as a switch, hub, router, and modem. So, the cost of this architecture is high. And, it is not affordable for normal users. 
2. This type of network architecture requires an experienced network administrator for maintaining all the resources on the network and the server. 
3. If the centralized server gets fails, then the whole network will be affected.