First and foremost, what is network architecture? It's basically the physical and logical design which refers to the software, hardware, protocols and the media of transmission of data. Simply put, it refers to how computers are organized and how tasks are allocated among these computers. The two types of widely used network architectures are peer-to-peer aka P2P and client/server aka tiered.
In a peer-to-peer network, tasks are allocated to every device on the network. Furthermore, there is no real hierarchy in this network, all computers are considered equal and all have the same abilities to use the resources available on this network. Instead of having a central server which would act as the shared drive, each computer thats connected to this network would act as the server for the files stored on it.
- Does not require a dedicated server which means its less costly.
- If one computer stops working, the other computers connected to the network will continue working.
- Installation and setup is quite painless because of the built-in support in modern operating systems.
- Security and data backups are to be done to each individual computer.
- As the numbers of computers increases on a P2P network... performance, security, and access becomes a major headache.
In a client/server network, a centralized, really powerful computer(server) acts as a hub in which other computers or workstations(clients) can connect to. This server is the heart of the system, which manages and provides resources to any client that requests them.
- Resources and data security are controlled through the server.
- Not restricted to a small number of computers.
- Server can be accessed anywhere and across multiple platforms.
- Can become very costly due to the need of a server as well as networking devices such as hubs, routers, and switches.
- If and when the server goes down, the entire network will be affected.
- Technical staff needed to maintain and ensure network functions efficiently.