How P2P and Client-Server Computer Networks Compare

When you plan to set up a computer network which will make the cooperation between your employees even more effective, you have to make a number of important decisions. One of them is on the type of network operating system which you will use. You have two options – peer-to-peer (P2P) system and client-server system. Take a closer look at both options and their advantages and disadvantages.

Peer-to-Peer System Pros and Cons

In a P2P computer network, all participating devices and their users are equal. They can share all resources between each other freely. They can all act as system administrators. At the same time, there is no central server which keeps all resources. The modern desktop operating systems can function as P2P systems as well.

The main benefit of a peer-to-peer network is the lower setup cost. There is no need for investing in a computer which will act as a server. If the computers in your office already have an operating system like Windows, Mac OSX or Linux, it will most probably require reconfiguration to be used as a network system. This will also help to bring costs down. Besides, it will make the setup much faster and easier. Another benefit is that each user will have greater control over the system.

There are several drawbacks as well. The level of security is lower due to the equal access and capabilities of all computers. There is no central storage and this may pose a greater risk of data loss.

A P2P computer network is more suitable for small to medium-sized companies which have employees with good technical knowledge.

Client-Server System Pros and Cons

With this type of system, there is a server computer which stores all data and applications. A larger network can have more than one server. The rest of the computers can access the data and apps on the server. They are called clients. There are specially designed operating systems for client-server networks.

This type of system has several notable benefits. The centralization allows for a higher level of security. Additionally, it is much easier and more cost-efficient for such a system to be expanded. This gives a company greater flexibility in the short term and in the long term as well. The nature of the system makes upgrading and the integration of new technology easier as well. It is possible for the server to be accessed remotely via different platforms. This can provide for an ever greater increase in productivity.

One of the major drawbacks of a client-server system is the fairly high setup cost. Additionally, the network will require more maintenance due to the presence of the server. As it expands, these needs will increase even further. This will inevitably lead to higher operating cost. Another disadvantage is that if the server goes down, the whole network will stop functioning.

A client-server system is more suitable for large companies which require a large network. The employees who will use the client computers require basic technical knowledge while the server has to be managed and maintained professionally.

You need to consider the individual requirements of your company in order to decide on the right type of operating system for your computer network.