Network architecture defines how the computers are connected along with their roles in the network. It defines the design and framework of the network. It also explains the characteristics of individual hardware, software and transmission system components. Depending on their architecture, computer network are divided into two categories: client-server and peer-to-peer.
In the client-server architecture, there are client and server nodes. Servers are nodes that have software, which enable than to provide services and information. Each service required to provide web services. Clients are nodes that have software installed on the system to request service from the server, an example of client-server is a web browser like internet explorer.
A server can provide many services, simultaneously, to one or many clients. Like a server, a client can also request many service from different servers. For example, a user can check email and view a web page together.
Peer – to – peer
In the client – server architecture, the client and server usually run on different nodes. But, it is possible for a node to carry out both the functions of client and server at the same time. When a node functions as a client and server simultaneously, then this type of network is called peer-to-peer network.
A simple peer-to-peer network can have tow directly connected nodes using a wired or wireless connection. Multiple nodes connected to the network device, such as a hub, create a large peer-to-peer network. One drawback of the peer-to-peer architecture is that the performance of a node can be slowed down because it acts as both, a client and a server at the same time.