Therefore, a distributed network is a system of interconnected networks, but at the same time independent. They can be distributed in different geographic locations, which adds a plus.
Do not confuse a distributed network with a decentralized network. They are not the same, although sometimes it can be confusing. Basically the difference is that decentralized networks do not have a central server, while distributed networks do, although they all act independently.
Advantages and disadvantages
As always happens, we can mention some positive points and others that can be a problem when using distributed networks. In this way we can know if they are really going to serve what we expect or we may have problems in their use.
If we think about the main advantages, one of them is that increases efficiency. They are more agile to be able to solve problems and also process everything at a lower cost. This is so since it uses multiple nodes and each of them can perform a different task, independently, optimizing performance.
We will also have less problems regarding possible errors that may arise. A distributed network is a set of networks that will act independently, as we have seen. If one of them fails due to a problem it has, it will not affect the rest and they will be able to continue working normally.
Another positive point is that you will have greater flexibility. A distributed network can be expanded horizontally, if it is necessary to increase certain characteristics. In this way, when adding a new node, we would not have to add resources to any central system. We are not going to be tied to something fixed, without being able to expand it.
Moreover, we will find a higher speed. This is so since each node will act independently. If we need to make use of a specific one to search for information, for example, we will see that this query is divided among all the nodes and the processing speed increases. You don’t need to send it to a central team, which would have to manage all the information.
One of the most important negatives is that distributed networks are more complex and they need more parts to function properly. Ultimately it is the sum of many nodes.
In addition, for get good visibility on each individual network it can be a major problem. This is linked to the very nature of distributed networks and their operation.
The security it can also be a problem. A distributed network will connect many nodes through the network and many users will access it. Logically, this also implies a greater security risk, with many potential attacks, as well as the difficulty of allowing them to be mitigated.
One more negative factor is the compatibility. As you have to connect many nodes, it is necessary that all of them be compatible with each other. In the event of problems, we may have difficulty fully operating.
A good example might be a WAN network from a university or company. Any individual office, college, or building is its own network, a centralized network, but is also part of a larger distributed network. If one of those buildings has a problem and the network stops working, it does not affect the rest. They are independent, even though they are part of the same distributed network.
Another example could be a CDN. It is a set of distributed networks that, in the event that one fails, would not affect the rest. It could continue to provide service and content without problems, even though it is all part of something.
It is also used in the cloud. Cloud storage, email, and the like act as a distributed network. Multimedia content too, as well as video games. They can connect multiple nodes to form a whole. These are services that are increasingly present in our day-to-day lives, which is why distributed networks also play an important role here.
What’s more, many computer systems today they function as distributed networks. This includes databases and servers that we can access from multiple nodes. They do not have a central team.
In short, as we have seen, distributed networks are an option that exists in communications. They are basically different types of nodes that act independently, unlike other types of networks. All of them form a set that can be grouped.
As in all cases, it has positive and negative points. We highlight from the first the ease of adding new nodes, while complexity and security are two important factors in terms of disadvantages.