In a small network, the peer-to-peer model is a typical choice. This model is generally favored in small networks because it does not require much in the way of additional resources (money spent) beyond the computers that are already in use.
The implementation of a peer-to-peer network, beyond the computers used by the users, is done with a Network Interface Card (NIC) installed in the users computers, and cable to connect them together. Depending on the cable choice, one additional component may be required. Currently the most popular cable choice in the wired world for a network in a geographical area measured in room (s) is Category 5 (CAT 5) Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP).
Its popularity is based on the balancing of performance verses price. If only two computers are to be joined (networked) a piece of cable is the only additional requirement beyond the NICs. More than two computers using this cable require some tying device such as a hub or switch.
Networking typically has some sort of authentication scheme in place, and this holds true with the peer-to-peer model. Authentication means that the users right to participate or log on to the network is validated. The most common way to authenticate is to supply a name and password.
In peer-to-peer, each local machine contains a name and password list and a limited set of choices for allowing what that user name can (or not) do with the data and other resources on that computer. These choices are known as permissions. Note that this means the same user can have different passwords on different computers on the same network.
That brings us to the down side of a peer-to-peer model. If you think about several dozen computers tied together, and each one had its own name-password-permission list, an unwieldy situation is in your face. This brings into play the other very common format for a network, the domain.
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