In the simplest form, a network can be defined as any interconnected group of people or things capable of sharing meaningful information with one another. The two fundamental network models are peer-to-peer and the client/server network. In this essay, I will touch on the major differences between the two models as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are major differences between the peer-to-peer and client/server network models. One major difference is the fact that a peer-to-peer network has no central server.

Within a peer-to-peer network all of the computers are interconnected and can communicate, but each one stores its own files and runs its own programs and applications. There is not any user authentication or central storage in peer-to-peer networks. On the other hand in a client/server model, there are separate dedicated servers and clients. The servers are used to facilitate communication and resource sharing between other computers on the network and also determine which users can have access to the specific files on the network.

Both peer-to-peer and client/server networks have their advantages and disadvantages. You have to choose what best suits your needs. Some advantages of peer-to-peer networks are the fact that they are simple to configure and less expensive than other networks. So for environments where little technical expertise is needed and money saving is critical peer-to-peer networks are ideal. However, disadvantages of peer-to-peer to networks include the fact that they lack flexibility for growth and they are generally not very secure.

As a peer-to-peer network grows it becomes very difficult to add to the network and very insufficient when it comes to sharing resources. The lack of security means that unauthorized users can easily get access to important documents. Client/server networks have significant advantages over peer-to-peer networks. Some of these advantages include higher levels of security, the ability to handle extensive organizational growth, sophisticated system-wide services, and faster more efficient processing times.

Of course with all of this comes a price and in the case of client/server networks that price can be very extensive. The expensive prices of client/server networks are their major disadvantage, but also the greater level of technical expertise that is required to configure and manage them. Both peer-to-peer and client/server networks are viable network architectures, it all depends on your needs. Peer-to-peer are usually reserved for a home network or small office environment while client/server networks are best suited for large scale networks require higher levels of security and expandability.

It’s best to make a choice based on your needs and budget. References Internet Xtreme – Client/Server vs. Peer to Peer. (n. d. ). Welcome to Internet Xtreme. Retrieved June 29, 2011, from http://www. xtreme. net. au/Network/server. asp MCSE, B. M. (2000, May 26). Understanding the differences between client/server and peer-to-peer networks | TechRepublic. TechRepublic – A Resource for IT Professionals. Retrieved July 6, 2011, from http://www. techrepublic. om/article/understanding-the-differences-between-clientserver-and-peer-to-peer-networks/1055415 Peters, C. (2011, February 8). Networking 101: Concepts and Definitions. TechSoup – The Technology Place For Nonprofits A . Retrieved July 6, 2011, from http://www. techsoup. org/learningcenter/networks/page4774. cfm Dean, T. (2010). CIS175: Network+ guide to networks: 2009 custom edition (5th ed). Boston: Course Technology, Cengage Learning