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A+: Peer-to-Peer

The network features built into Windows allow for peer servers: Computers can share resources with each other, and machines that share resources can also be used as client workstations. As with client/server networking, resources on peer servers can be accessed via universal naming convention or by mapping drive letters and printer ports on a client to server resources.

If mapped drive letters and printer ports are used in a peer-to-peer network, the same resource will have a different name, depending on whether it’s being accessed from the peer server (acting as a workstation) itself or over the network. 

In a simple two-station peer-to-peer network, each computer acts as a peer server to the other. One PC shares its external hard disk drive with another PC, which refers to the shared hard disk drive as F:\. The second PC  shares its printer with the first PC, which has mapped the shared printer to LPT2.

The peer server loads file and printer-sharing software to make printers and drives or folders available to others. Because a peer server is also used as a workstation, it is equipped in the same way as a typical workstation or standalone PC.



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