Topics / Networks and Data Transmission / 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.
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