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Sample Comparison Essay on P2P vs. Client Server Networks

P2P vs. Client Server Networks

A network can either be P2P (peer to peer) or client server based. The choice one makes between these two basically determines the type of relationship each PC or device available on the network will have with others in terms of control.

Peer to peer is deemed as the true democracy as each PC on the network is equal to the other. This means the PCs are able to communicate with each other and they done have any centralized PC controlling or monitoring communication on that network.

Client server network on the other hand has a central figure authority that controls access and communication to resources on that network. The centralized PC in control is known as the server. The difference between these two networks can be seen in the following aspects:

Access control

In terms of access control, the server network is accessed via group lists of permission via user, user or group lists of permission to only resources granted. In addition to this, users are given different levels of access. On the other hand resources in peer to peer are managed by each system with shared resources.

Depending on the operating system, resources are controlled by different passwords for each of the resource shared or by user list which is stored on the system. There are some operating systems that don’t use passwords enabling access to shared resources with anyone who can access that network.


The security level of client server networks is high as it is controlled by a group identity or user. However, the security level in P2P network varies in accordance to whether it has password protection, the number of people who know the password and whether they can access the network. If there are no passwords anyone with access to the workgroup is able to access shared resources. Note when a password is used, security is similar to that of client server networks.


The performance of client server network is high because it is dedicated and does not handle other types of tasks. The performance level of peer to peer however is low simply because servers double up as work stations.

Hardware costs

For client server network, the hardware costs are high as a high performing server hardware that has redundancy features is needed. Hardware costs for peer to peer are low as any workstation can be used as a server for purposes of sharing.

Software cost

For client servers, software costs are high because of license fees per user which are part of the operation server cost while for peer to peer, the costs are low as client software is inclusive of the operating system.


In client server, the backup is centralized to the server and managed by the administrator of the network while in peer to peer the backup is decentralized and managed by the users.

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