Fundamentals of communication and networkingː Thin versus thick client computing

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PAPER 2 - ⇑ Fundamentals of communication and networking ⇑

← Client server model Thin versus thick client computing


Thin vs Thick Client Computing[edit]

In networking you generally have clients that connect and share data. In some cases, there are servers which act as a central hub and serve these clients. In this context, we'll be talking about networks that have central servers.

These central servers tend to have all of the data that the clients connected to it need, such as user accounts, documents and sometimes SaaS (software as a service). Clients connecting to this server can be categorized into two categories: thin and thick clients.

Thin clients are computers that tend to have no hard drive (or other form of permanent storage), very low powered CPU's and not much memory. This is because the central server tends to be extremely powerful and handles the processing for all of it's clients. When the client requests data the server processes it and sends the output to the client. This is extremely useful as it saves costs for large networks and also saves power.

An advantage is security, updates, software cost. disadvantage is the huge congestion of bandwidth and reliance on network

Thick clients are computers that handle all of the processing and storage like a desktop computer. All the server does is act as an external storage device.

An advantage of this is it can be useful as if the server goes down the users can still work. A disadvantage of thick clients is each client must have a computer that can handle the storage and processing of most tasks.

Thin Client Thick Client
Always connected to a local server Does not necessarily need a network to function
Lower hardware requirement (Calculations are done on the server) High hardware requirement (All processing is done locally)
Can use any computer on the network to access the same software and files Files and software are only stored on the local machine
Software updated on the server is reflected on clients Software requires updating on each client

A lot of businesses use a mixed client where files are stored on the local server but programs are installed on the computers individually. This allows for work to continue if the server goes down unexpectedly.

When using thin clients, you can get a server license for a piece of software that is cheaper than individual licenses for every client.