22 JAN 2019

Architectures and extensions of computer networks

When we talk about computer networks, we need to focus on two fundamental aspects:

  • architectures: peer-to-peer and client-server;
  • extensions.


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).


Cos'è una rete peer-to-peer


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).

Cos'è una rete client-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.


If you want to look further into other aspects related to computer networks, do not miss:

Elaborated by Fabrizio Milazzo and Lucia D’Adamo