Networks require software to control the flow of information between users. A Network Operating System, or NOS,  installed in each computer attached to the network. The is like a traffic cop that monitors the exchange and flow of files, electronic mail, and other network information. Network Operating Systems are generally classified according to whether they are Peer-to-Peer or Client-Server networks. Listed below are the descriptions, pro’s and con’s of each type of network.

Advanced Micro Technologies can help you decide what type of network is best for you!

Peer to Peer (2 to 4 Users)

A peer-to-peer network allows two or more PCs to pool their resources together. Individual resources like disk drives, DVD-ROM drives, and even printers are transformed into shared, collective resources that are accessible from every PC.

Unlike client-server networks, where network information is stored on a centralized file server PC and made available to tens, hundreds, or thousands client PCs, the information stored across peer-to-peer networks is uniquely decentralized. Because peer-to-peer PCs have their own hard disk drives that are accessible by all computers, each PC acts as both a client (information requestor) and a server (information provider). Although not capable of handling the same amount of information flow that a client-server network might, all computers can communicate directly with each other and share one another’s resources.

The advantages of peer-to-peer over client-server include:

  • Minimal maintenance required
  • Network is inexpensive to set up
  • Each PC can make backup copies of its data to other PCs for security.
  • Peer-to-Peer is perfect for novice users.

Server / Client (5 + Users)

In a Server/ Client environment like Windows 2012 R2 Server, files are stored on a centralized, high-speed PC that is made available to client PCs. Network access speeds are usually faster than those found on peer-to-peer networks, which is reasonable given the vast numbers of clients that this architecture can support. Nearly all network services like printing and electronic mail are routed through the file server, which allows networking tasks to be tracked. Inefficient network segments can be reworked to make them faster, and users’ activities can be closely monitored. Public data and applications are stored on the file server, where they are run from client PCs’ locations, which makes upgrading software a simple task – network administrators can simply upgrade the applications stored on the file server, and not having to physically upgrade each client PC. File servers are often set up so that each user on the network has access to his or her “own” directory, along with a range of “public” directories where applications are stored.

With five or five hundred client PCs, a file server is the only way to manage the complex and simultaneous operations that large networks need.