Working on computers, you may hear the terms P2P and client-server network. Both of them are common models that are used in our day-to-day lives. A major difference between a P2P and a client-server network is that the latter focuses more on connectivity to the remote computer, whereas the former focuses on information sharing.
Before we understand the difference between P2P and client-server networks, let us figure out their definitions in detail.
What is a client-server network?
The client-server model is widely used as a network model. A server is a powerful system that stores data and information on it. On the other hand, the client is the machine that allows the users to access data on the remote server.
The server’s data is managed by the system administrator. The client machines and the server are connected through a network. It allows the client to access the data even if the client machine and server are far apart from each other. In this model, the client process runs on the client’s machine and sends the request to the server process running on the server machine. When the server receives the client’s request, it looks for the requested data and sends it back with the reply.
Since the services are provided by a centralized server, there is a possibility that it may get bottlenecked, which would slow down the efficiency of the system.
What is a peer-to-peer network?
Unlike client-server networks, the peer-to-peer network does not distinguish between the client and the server. Rather, each node can be a server or a client, depending on whether it is providing or requesting the services. Every node is rated as a peer.
A node must initially join the peer-to-peer network in order to participate. It must begin offering services after joining and make service requests to the other nodes in the peer-to-peer network.. There are a couple of ways in which nodes provide services.
A node must use a centralised search service on the internet to register the services it is offering as soon as it joins the peer-to-peer network. When a node wants a specific service, it must get in touch with centralised look-up services to find out which nodes can deliver it. The specialised node and the service-protecting node handle the remaining communication.
A node that desires a specific service has to broadcast the request for services to all nodes in the peer-to-peer network. The node providing the requested services will respond to the node making the request.
The difference between P2P and client server network is depicted in the following table
|Basis of comparison||Client-server network||Peer-to-Peer|
|Basic||There is a specific server and specific clients connected to the server||Clients and servers are not distinguished, each node acts as a server and a client|
|Data||The data is stored on a central server||Each peer has its own data|
|Focus||Sharing of information||Connectivity|
|Service||The client request for server and the server responds with the server||Every node can request services and can also provide the services.|
|Expense||The client-server is expensive to implement||Peer- to – Peer is less expensive to implement|
|Server||When several clients request the services, simultaneously a server can be bottlenecked.||Since the services are provided by several servers in the peer- to peer system a server is not bottlenecked.|
|Stability||Client-server is more scalable and stable||Peer to Peer suffers if the number of peers in the system increases.|
To conclude when it comes down to the choice of P2P and client-server network it is dependent upon the environment in which the network model to implement. Every model has its strengths and flaws.