Definition of client in The Network Encyclopedia.


A workstation or computer, usually belonging to a single user, as opposed to a server, which is shared by many users. Planning the hardware, software, configuration, deployment, and maintenance of clients is as important to the network administrator as the other server-related activities.

Choice of a client operating system depends on various considerations. For example, in determining whether to install Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows NT Workstation on client computers, users should consider the following:

  • Both client operating systems, in conjunction with Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 4 and later, offer the same desktop configuration options, similar utilities, and similar support for features such as user profiles, hardware profiles, and system policies.
  • Windows NT Workstation will provide client machines with better performance, greater reliability, and more robust security, but it has higher hardware requirements than Windows 98.
  • Windows 98 supports a broader range of devices and legacy software applications, and includes power-management support—making it a better solution for mobile users.

In configuring clients to operate on a network, appropriate software must be installed on each client to allow it to access servers on the network. For example, to access Windows NT and Windows 2000 servers, client machines require Microsoft client software such as Client for Microsoft Networks. To access Novell NetWare servers, client machines require NetWare-compatible clients, such as Client for NetWare Networks.

Disruptive Technologies or innovation.Disruptive Innovation

The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

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