Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Client-Server Networks

Client-Server Networks

Client-server networks are computer networks that use a dedicated computer (server) to store data, manage/provide resources and control user access.

The server acts as a central point on the network upon which the other computers connect to.

A computer that connects to the server is called a client.

Client Server Network Diagram

A client-server network is usually preferred over a peer-to-peer network that doesn’t have a central server to manage the network.

You can learn about peer-to-peer networks here.

Network server functions

A client-server network may have more than one server, each dedicated to handling a specific function.

Functions may include:

  • Data storage
  • Handling security
  • Hosting shared applications
  • Managing an internet connection
  • Scheduling and running backups
  • Email services
  • Print jobs
  • Domain name services
  • Storing usernames and passwords to control access
  • Assigning levels of access to resources
  • Monitoring network traffic

Benefits of a client-server network

  • Generally more secure than peer-to-peer networks
  • One client computer crashing does not effect the other computers
  • Easier to recover files as backups can be controlled centrally by the network administrator
  • Files and resources are easier to share and control from server
  • Improved levels of security as files are centralised
  • It’s easier to administrate the whole network using a server
  • Faster performance as each computer is only fulfilling one role
  • Security is potentially cheaper and easier when done centrally
  • Individual users do not have to worry about backups or security
  • Larger networks can be created

Drawbacks of a client-server network

  • Servers can be expensive to buy and maintain
  • A network technician will often be required
  • Trickier to set up with specialist knowledge needed
  • Over-all set up cost is more expensive than a peer-to-peer network
  • Server failure will probably disrupt all computers on the network
Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / Client-Server Networks