Types of Computer Networks

Networks are all about sharing resources of computers, servers, printers, scanners etc to each other. There are two different types with which network between computers can be formed. Networking formation completely depends on the requirement of the organization scale and usability. We should always study requirements and needs before we decide to choose any type of network. Picking wrong set of options can cost you waste of money, time and resources. Two types of networks are Peer to Peernetworking also known to be p2p, the other one is Client and Server networks.


Peer to peer (p2p)


P2p networking type is most commonly used computer networks. This type of network is very cost effective but supports lesser number of computers in network. Ten to fifteen computers can be connected to each other using p2p networking model without problem, more number of computers often create problems. All computers possesses same status within the network and no computer control any other computer but it self, this network does not have server to control and monitor. Security level is not towards higher side and each work station it self is responsible for security. Using p2p models files can be shared among computers. Files like, videos, audios, pictures, spreadsheets and all digital media can be sent or received with in the network. Printers, scanners and internet can be shared with in all computers. Below is the picture showing three computers connected to each other with hub and switch. All computers are connected to hub through Network adaptor card using Cable and hub or switch is connected to internet to pass it on to connected computers.. You can see there is no server involved in this diagram but all individual computers are connecting to hub forming P2P network.

peer 2 peer netwokring

Limitation of P2P networking model:

Before deciding to implement P2P model one must know the limitations of this type. Getting to know later can be frustrating big time. It would highly be recommended to get your organizational people site together and discuss the needs. Peer to Peer looks very simple, quite cost effective and attractive, yet it can keep progress very limited.

  • Peer-To-Peer networks are designed for limited number computers, it will start creating issues when exceed 15 number of computers

  • High security levels can not be achieved using p2p networks, so if organization have concerns with security p2p will not be that great.

  • Organizational growth will outgrow p2p networks; it will not support growing number of computers when increased above fifteen.

  • Regular training is required for computer users of p2p network. p2p network is control by computers and computers are controlled by human, small mistake by one of the user can hold the work for other users on same p2p network.


Client Server Network Model :

Choosing right kind of networking model is very important for organization. If you are using lesser number of computer and do not see any need to increase the numbers of computers to more than 15 then you are fine with peer to peer networking model, but if you are bigger organization or seeing growth in network, client and server model is designed for it.


The difference in p2p and client server model is that p2p does not have any device or computer that controls computers on network whereas; client / server model has one dedicated computer which is called server. It is called dedicated server. All computers are connected to hub and hub is connected to dedicated server. Server is responsible to perform according to the request sent to it by clients. For example server can act as print server, if client request a print of document server will send print command to printer and it will be printed. Same way all the files are stored on the server and not on client computer, same client can retrieve data by using any other computer on the same network. This concept is known as centralization, this enables server to keep profile of users, data, and software etc completely in tacked and organized.

Normal computer can also be configured as server and it should be alright and perform server tasks efficiently, but if network growth is on seen and many computers are required to attach to network that’s where we might need proper server to take over the network.

You can see in diagram below. All the workstations (Clients) are attached on server, some times there is hub involved but in this case it is just clients and server.

client server

Features of Server:

Servers are powerful machines when they are compared to normal desktop computers. They are meant to provide strength to computing power within the entire network. Controlling developed network can only be done by dedicated servers as they have higher specifications to support network. Servers can have better processing speed with multiple processors capability available. Server machine have higher RAM to load and execute software with ease. They have more advance network cards installed for faster data transfer. Hard drives are way bigger to store the data for entire clients. Hardware can be plugged in and plugged out while server is on, this helps network stable, and hardware like hard disk can be removed and attached accordingly.


Server Os:

Operating systems are also specially designed for servers. Server Os have much more features file serving, print serving, backing up data, enhanced security features etc. There are few major Server Os which are used commonly in servers, Windows server NT. 2000 , 2003,Linux and Novell NetWare. Windows server 2003 is more powerful and enhanced for much higher security levels, Linux servers provide the maximum security to networks.