A computer can have different roles when we think about networks. You can think of a role as a "service a computer provides". Computers can provide multiple services, and can be both a client and provide a service.
Roles can include client, server, email server, DNS server, DHCP server, router and firewall.
|Client||A client is a piece of computer hardware that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often (but not always) on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network. The term applies to the role that programs or devices play in the client–server model .|
|Server||In computing, a server is a computer program or a device that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". Often, the server provides a "service" for clients, beit DNS, web, mail, DHCP, or even a game server. This is called the client–server model.|
|DNS server||A name server is a computer Hardware or software server that implements a network service for providing responses to queries against a directory service. It translates an often humanly-meaningful, text-based identifier to a system-internal, often numeric identification or addressing component like an IP address.. This service is performed by the server in response to a service protocol request.
|DHCP server||The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a standardized network protocol used on Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The DHCP is controlled by a DHCP server that dynamically distributes network configuration parameters, such as IP addresses, for interfaces and services. A router or a residential gateway can be enabled to act as a DHCP server. A DHCP server enables computers to request IP addresses and networking parameters automatically, reducing the need for a network administrator or a user to configure these settings manually. In the absence of a DHCP server, each computer or other device (e.g., a printer) on the network needs to be statically (i.e., manually) assigned to an IP address.|
|Email server||Within Internet message handling services (MHS), a message transfer agent or mail transfer agent (MTA) or mail relay is software that transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to another using a client–server application architecture. An MTA implements both the client (sending) and server (receiving) portions of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.|
The terms mail server, mail exchanger, and MX host may also refer to a computer performing the MTA function. The Domain Name System (DNS) associates a mail server to a domain with an MX record containing the domain name of the host(s) providing MTA services.
|Router||A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another through the networks that constitute the internetwork until it reaches its destination node.|
|Firewall||In computing, a firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.|
Real-world practical advice
If you work with any professional computer scientist or IT professional, they will assume you understand the different roles a computer can have in a networked world. This is pretty basic stuff, so please memorize it.
- Describe the roles that a computer can take in a networked world.