• What is a Client Device?

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A ’Client Device’ may refer to any computer with access to data from another computer. In this sense, a server may support a network composed of many client devices in the form of desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. A purpose built network may comprise different types of client devices (e.g. thin clients, zero clients), as detailed by factors such as onboard storage.

Thin Clients & Zero Clients

A business wishing to build a functional onsite computer network faces several options when choosing between types of network devices. This choice is usually driven by considerations such as task relevance and whether the chosen devices represent a cost-effective solution. The available options are typically known as thin clients, zero clients, and thick clients.

Thin clients, zero clients, and thick clients:

  • Thin Client
    In a thin client scenario, each workstation is equipped with a limited amount of RAM storage - meaning there is no onboard hard drive. Instead, thin clients depend on server connectivity in order to access apps and save data. The limited RAM enables a succession of device users to continue working on the same project using the same applications.
  • Zero Client
    A zero client is a workstation that does not feature onboard memory. All functions are dependant on access to the network server (including start-up). As zero clients cannot store data, they are considered the most secure endpoint solutions to an in-office virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • Thick Client
    A thick client is a fully autonomous internet ready device with a dedicated onboard hard drive. This means that thick clients are effective in both an off-line capacity or when not connected to the server, as well as when connected to a network. An example of a thick client is a laptop with a dedicated onboard hard drive.

What are the Benefits of Thin Clients and Zero Clients?

Thin clients and zero clients do not possess onboard memory. This means that upon start-up, the operating system and any critical applications do not load until such time that access to the relevant network files is secured. Upon connecting to the network, only the applications required for task completion are accessed at any given time, meaning a high responsivity and much faster load speeds. The lack of onboard memory also presents an attractive safety feature - data cannot be stolen from thin clients and zero clients as it is not stored onboard the device.

Reduced Operating Costs - As thin clients and zero clients contain no ‘moving parts’ (i.e. hard drive, cooling fan), there is a reduced risk of hardware failure. This helps to keep costs to a minimum both in terms of network related financial considerations (i.e. hardware), and any future potential maintenance costs (i.e. parts and labour).

More info: Client Devices

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