What Is a Client Server Network?

By Paul Parsons

As technology and computers have continued to develop rapidly, a client server network has soon replaced past forms of networking on a computer to become the most widely used. A client server network can be utilized by desktop computers and laptops, as well as other mobile devices that are properly equipped.


A client server network is defined as specific type of online network comprised of a single central computer acting as a server that directs multiple other computers, which are referred to as the clients. By accessing the server, clients are then able to reach shared files and information saved on the serving computer. Further, client server networks are very similar in nature to peer to peer networks with the exception that it is only the server that can initiate a particular transaction.


A client server model can be implemented into a single computer system, but is most commonly applied over many different sites. This makes it possible for multiple computers or people to interconnect and share information. As businesses expand and people are now working together across vast distances, a client server model enables them to reach a common, or shared, database or program. This works as well when online users access their bank account or pay particular bills online. Users log into the bank's server with their queries, and then the server proceeds to relay them their information.


The main benefits of the client server network is allowing a shared database or site to be accessed or updated by multiple computers while maintaining only one control center for the action. This makes it possible for companies to distribute information, upload data, or reach the program without being tied down to one individual computer site. Because the information is stored online, a client server model creates more power and control over what is being saved. Additionally, this model has an increased security, often with encryption, ensuring that the data is only available to qualified individuals.


Under a client server model, the main disadvantage is running the risk of a system overload. If too many different clients attempt to reach the shared network at the same time, there may be a failure or a slowing down of the connection. Furthermore, if the network is down, this disables access to the information from any site or client anywhere. This can be detrimental to major businesses who are unable to reach their pertinent data.


Other types of service connections include master slave networks and peer to peer networks. In a master slave diagram, a single program is in charge of all the others, with one being dominant over the other. In contrast, a peer-to-peer network, while similar to a client-server architecture, differentiates in that it allows any client to start transactions.

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