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​Thin Client Computing

What is a Client?

In computing terminology, a 'client' is a hardware or software component in a network that relies on a more powerful computer, a server, to perform specified operations. This means that not all processing needs to be performed by a user's device or applications. The client simply provides a window, or interface, to view and use applications on a personal computer, workstation or other device. Clients most commonly connect to servers through the Internet.

Thin Clients

A 'thin' client relies on a server to do most or all of its processing. A common example is a web application that uses a browser to present the application to the user. Thin computers are far simpler than standard PCs, and usually contain just enough information to start up and connect to the server.

Thick Clients

A 'thick' client is a computer with many locally stored programs and resources and little dependence on network resources. A common example of a 'thick client' is where the interface of the application must be downloaded to the desktop computer.

Benefits of Thin Client Computing

The advantages of thin client computing include:

  • Reduced cost – simpler devices are lower in price. In a situation where many people perform a similar task, it is more cost-effective to have one network server computer and many cheap client computers, than to have many complete devices.
  • Ease of maintenance a standard computer has a lot of parts, and a thin client only has a few, which means fewer things can go wrong. The simplicity makes it easier to diagnose and repair problems.
  • Ease of use – reduced complexity for users.
  • Security – security is centralized and easier to manage.

Thin client computers are increasingly replacing standard PCs in the workplace.

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