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Network Architecture

What Is Network Architecture?

Network architecture relates to the way a computer network is designed, which includes how the network is logically organized, the physical components used, how associated networks interoperate, and how data is exchanged between devices.

Network Architecture Design Optimization

Optimizing a network architecture's design can improve its security, scalability, or performance by making changes to the hardware, topology, or protocols. Making changes to how a network is arranged, connected, and routed is topology optimization. Hardware optimization involves confirming appropriate speed, compatibility, and quality of your cabling, adjusting the type and quantity of devices used, and balancing for your overall bandwidth, redundancy, and responsiveness needs. Protocol optimization is concerned with finding more efficient protocols, or rules for devices, that are used on the network. Design optimization may focus on one or all of these opportunities.

What Are General Network Architectures?

The four main network architectures are peer-to-peer, client-server, tiered, and hybrid.


The simplest network architecture is peer-to-peer, where all devices on the network are of equal importance and any device can communicate with any other on the network. However, this setup doesn't lend itself well to scaling. This can be handled often with a very simple network topology and structure.


Client-server network architecture involves two different device types: clients and servers. Servers deliver services to clients that request them. It is more complex than a simple peer to peer network, and also requires more networking hardware, and designs around how network traffic would flow. This has moderate scalability and security options.


Tiered architecture is the most scalable for networks that may need to grow in the future. Different tiers fulfill different functions. For example, one tier may be responsible for data communication, another for data processing, and a third for data storage. Large networks can be built effectively on tiered architecture due to their capacity to scale. This is the most complex of the three main types outlined here, and requires a large amount of forethought and design to make the most of your capacity and security options.


Because of their distinct features, businesses may benefit from hybrid network architecture - a combination of two or more of these types. For example, an organization might use both client-server and peer-to-peer architectures. This allows for functions that are easy to keep the design and costs simpler, while still allowing them to potentially speak to other areas of the company which may require the higher end resources. This does, however, require potentially the most thought out design, so that one area of the environment does not cause issues in the other areas.

What Are the Advantages of a Well-Designed Network Architecture?

When designed well, network architectures can scale to meet the needs of your business, improve the transmission and reception of data, fortify a network against cyberattacks, and save on costs for hardware, software, and maintenance.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Well-Designed Network Architecture?

The previously outlined benefits don't come without costs and difficulty. Well-designed network architecture can be expensive and complicated to design and put into practice. It also requires the right skill,resources to maintain, and time to design it. As long as there is a strong design, however, there are many more advantages to network architecture than disadvantages.

What is an Example of a Network Architecture?

Companies often use a Tiered or Hybrid-style Network Architectural design. The idea behind these designs is they allow for functions to be served by multiple compute resources in an efficient manner, while at the same time keeping an eye on security and performance. An example of this would be a Web Server farm, which has one "Tier" dedicated to handling all Web Hosting traffic, another "Tier" dedicated to handling the data that is served to the Web, and a final "Tier" handling storing the data that is required for the two "Tiers" above it to function properly. This tiered model allows for individual traffic types based on your security model.

How TierPoint Can Help With Network Architecture

Whether your network needs are stable and straightforward, or you're looking for something that scales, TierPoint can help you identify the network architecture that will be best suited to your business, while optimizing spend.

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