When we talk about computer networks, we need to focus on two fundamental aspects:
- architectures: peer-to-peer and client-server;
Peer-to-peer networks and client-server networks
The architecture of the network represents the structure with which the functions of the network are organized and positioned.
The peer-to-peer architecture ( P2P) provides that the devices it contains do not have a specified hierarchy, but they are equivalent to each other and have all the same functionalities. This means that the peer-to-peer architecture is characterized by high availability of the service. A typical example of an application that uses P2P architecture is file sharing (for example eMule).
The client-server architecture is characterized by a service provider device – called the server – and by devices that use the service – called clients. Typical examples of client-server architecture are browsers (clients) that access web pages on the internet (server).
The extension of computer networks
Computer networks can have different extensions, depending on the type of business related to them:
- SOHO (Small Offices/Home Offices): used for small offices or home workplaces, they are characterized by a very limited geographical extension;
- LAN (Local Area Network): LANs represent medium to large business areas, such as entire buildings or universities or campus;
- WAN (Wide Area Network): WANs are the most geographically broad (even worldwide) networks and form the basis of communications of large organizations (for example GARR).The internet must therefore be thought of as a WAN, as it is geographically extended worldwide.
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Elaborated by Fabrizio Milazzo and Lucia D’Adamo