7. Client-Server Network

A client-server network is the type of network that we have been discussing on the previous pages.

A server Is a computer that is dedicated to providing some kind of service to users across a network. (Hence the word 'server')

There might be different types of server on a network such as a file server which is used to store all of the users' files and folders. The file server 'serves' files to the users when they log onto the network.

There might be an email server which deals with the internal email system.

A web server deals with hosting web sites, either across the internet or within an internal company intranet.

Some servers are dedicated to very specific tasks. For example converting a person-friendly URL such as www.teach-ict.com to an IP address that is then used to access the site. These are called DNS 'root servers' and are the basis of the world wide web.

Others are there to just provide an accurate time, based on a trusted clock, such as the NTP servers dotted around the internet that send time information to a client when requested.

The workstations connected to the network are known as 'clients'. Clients rely on servers for resources and access to files and peripheral devices.

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Client-Server Networks
Advantages Disadvantages
All files are stored in a central location A specialist network operating system is needed
Network peripherals are controlled centrally The server is expensive to purchase
Backups and network security is controlled centrally Specialist staff such as a network manager is needed
Users can access shared data which is centrally controlled If any part of the network fails a lot of disruption can occur