What is a Client Server Network? How Does It Work?

Daisy updated on Oct 17, 2022 to Knowledge Center

The advancement of technology has developed computer network connections over time. The cost of purchased hardware can now be minimized. Large-scale organizations and businesses can interact across various locations using network models through a shared database they can access.

A client-server network is a model system that guarantees these benefits. The security controls associated with the system make it preferable to other existing network models. Read this article to learn the features peculiar to the client-server network and how the system operates.

What Is a Client-Server Network? 

Clients are end-users who request data or services made available by a server. The server is a computer interacting with all clients.

A client-server network gives clients access to shared files and resources from the server. The server responds to the Client's requests and provides security for the connection. A Local Area or Wide-Area Network is used as a channel through which the interaction occurs. Client's

In addition, this network's operations curb traffic between clients and servers or servers to servers. An assigned server holds the Client's request for a network interaction to be established and sustained until the request has been accomplished. 

client server network

The table below contains some advantages and disadvantages of the client-server network.

Advantages Disadvantages
This network ensures that only authorized users can access the resources and services shared in the network. Security controls can be implemented for access.   The restrictions prevent an easy change of information or work done on the documents shared in the network. 
A client-server network is easy to set up and configure. The absence of multiple servers makes it easy to troubleshoot.  This model setup and maintenance is cost-intensive. The strong networks needed are usually expensive and not affordable for some users. 
Hosting all information on one central server makes problems easier to resolve. Hence management operations are faster. Also, regular updates are not cost-intensive.  A breakdown in the connection will prevent any client from retrieving the required information. This can subject certain organizations or businesses to risk. 
The network model has better flexibility because interactions are created when necessary and not fixed. Modular applications are allowed for easy software creation.  A competent network manager should be hired to resolve any error once it occurs. This is because the servers run continuously and require proper maintenance. 
The Client and server proximity is not a problem, as data can be transferred effectively without obstructions.  Client-server networks are not advisable for small-scale networks that do not require tight security measures.  
Expansion of this network is possible without interfering with the existing system. Network segments, servers, and computers can be added without triggering downtime. This system is prone to overloading if resources needed to service all clients are not available. The connection may break down if all clients attempt to interact at the same time.
Retrieval of backup data is easy with a single server. This advantage is peculiar to client-server networks, unlike other networks which require backup at every workstation. The clients are not permitted to provide services or request services not granted by the central server.

How Does Client Server Network Work?

The user devices can be a computer or a mobile device with an application installed. The user also calls the Client sends a request to the host server anticipating a response and is disconnected from the network after completing the request. The Client's bandwidth ability will determine the speed of delivery.

This model structure is employed for a Local Area Network (LAN) or the internet. The users interact with the servers using a TCP/IP protocol. The TCP protocol segments the data into deliverable packets. As a connection-oriented protocol, it controls the packets' transmission, flow, and receipt.

 The IP protocol accesses each request packet as individual units of data. In addition, its stack does not establish a connection between the communicating endpoints. Both protocol stacks include elements of the network layers within the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) communication.

What Are the Types of Servers? 

Clients rely on computer networks for data distribution. After initiating the connection, servers decide if the request packets from users will be dropped, accepted, or refused. A well-configured server can end a connection without obstructing the system. Here are the different types of servers used.

1. Print servers

These servers can serve multiple clients near each other. Computers in a department can use a single printer via network connections.

2. Web servers

Computers and internet websites interact to share data stored on web servers. The HTTP code is used to retrieve the information into user devices.

3. Mail servers

These servers provide users with platforms to access email services without software installations.

4. Gaming servers

Clients can access large gaming networks using these servers, where multi-players are acceptable.

5. Virtual servers

Virtual machines can be operated on a single hardware. The data transferred and stored are done in virtual spaces.

Final Words 

Client-server networks enhance connectivity and data sharing between multiple users via a common server. The advantages of this network model make it preferable to peer-to-peer network systems. TCP/IP protocol regulate the transmission of network deliverable packets between the devices.

It provides maximum security to organizations within the network and scrutinizes client access. This article will enlighten you on a client-server network's operations and the associated drawbacks.

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