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Network Types


There are two primary types of networks today: Client Server and Peer to Peer.



Peer to Peer Network


This is a simple and inexpensive form of networking. Each computer (workstation) on the network acts as both a client (using information) and a server (providing information to others). Each user can access data and other resources on other work stations and can share their own resources by setting share rights on their own directories through password protection known as share level security. This network is well suited to a smaller environment with ten workstations or less and where share level security is sufficient. In addition, all computers with Windows 95/98 or Windows NT as the operating system already have peer to peer networking built in. All you need to establish a network are network adapter cards, properly installed network cabling to connect them and, depending on the type of cabling you choose, a network hub.



  • Works well for smaller offices of ten or less workstations

  • Easy to set up

  • Easy to maintain as long as it stays small

  • No need for a dedicated network administrator

  • No need for a file server

  • Software already built in



  • Becomes more difficult to administrate as it gets larger

  • Individual users must do data backups

  • Share level security becomes inadequate as network grows

  • More dependent on individual user training

  • Not well suited for large database applications due to lack of dedicated file server



Client Server Network


This is the most popular type of network today. In this type of network, one or more dedicated file servers will handle file requests from workstations, store and manage files, databases, printers, and other network devices. This type of network is more suited for larger environments, where an integrated database is used to run operations and where tighter security is required. The file servers are much more efficient at handling large numbers of file requests. In addition, critical data is stored and backed up at one central location. Finally, this type of network employs user level security. The password of each individual user defines which files, applications and other network resources the user is permitted to access throughout the entire network. To establish this type of network, you will need to purchase a file server, network adapter cards for all workstation, client server software, a network hub and have network cabling professionally installed.



  • Much more efficient at handling large databases and managing files

  • User level security makes network easier to use while providing much tighter security

  • Critical data is backed up at one central location



  • Dedicated file servers are more expensive than workstations

  • Need to have at least a part time administrator to maintain the network

  • Need to purchase client server network software


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