Sneaker net is an informal term used to describe the first PC network. This type of networking required storing data on a floppy disk (or even tape) and running across the room, and handing the physical media containing the data to another user. This network-sharing model is still in use in one form or another today.
Sneaker net, though sometimes useful, has a number of disadvantages. It tends to be expensive in both time and the mistakes that resulted from sharing resources in this manner. It is error prone because one user could update a file, while another user updates the same file in a different location. And sometimes, it is simply impractical because the users are located hours away from each other, necessitating that an overnight courier service be used to help sneaker the data from one user to another.
Sneaker net also provided limited functionally in business needs such as disaster recovery, mass storage, and fault-tolerance. Also, it simply wasnt practical to share many types of resources via sneaker net, such as fax capabilities and printers. These limitations provided the incentive for enterprising engineers to come up with a better way, and gave rise to the two types of network models for resource-sharing that are still in use today.
Both of these network models, the peer-to-peer and client/server models are structured in compliance with the OSI model, described in the chapter on Networking Standards. Also, both can be implemented on the same types of physical and logical topologies, which well talk more about later in this chapter.
Even with the use of these network models, network users may sometimes still resort to the physical sneaker net approach. For instance, when a large amount of information needs to be transferred from one host to another, and the network link between those two hosts is a very slow one (for instance, modem dial-up), overnight delivery may well be a more practical and efficient option to move the data.
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