Difference Between a Workgroup and a Domain

Mon, Aug 15, 2011, by MKDubey

Web Talk

What’s the difference between a workgroup and a domain–based network?
Why Set Up a Domain at Home?

Difference between a Workgroup and a Domain

What’s the difference between a workgroup and a domain–based network? A workgroup is two or more computers networked together. A workgroup is often called a peer–to–peer network because the computers are all peers to one another. No one machine is in charge, and security and other settings have to be made on each individual computer. In a domain, on the other hand, the networked computers have a definite hierarchy in that computers are either servers or clients. Domains have a unified security policy set on the domain controllers (servers) and users on client machines are authenticated by a server when logging on. The usual rule of thumb is that workgroups are manageable up to about ten computers; after that a domain is recommended. However, there are valid reasons for setting up a domain–based home network instead of a workgroup.

 Why Set Up a Domain at Home?

 

Let’s say you have a high speed, always–on Internet connection and want all your computers behind a highly secure firewall. Windows XP does provide basic home–network security through its Internet Connection Firewall, but for a highly–configurable firewall and top–of–the–line Internet connection optimizer, you’ll want Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server. ISA protects your network from hackers, improves Internet performance for clients on your network, and controls client access to the Internet. If you operate your own Web server, ISA lets you keep that server behind the firewall and insulated from the wide world of hackers. However, ISA Server installs only on a domain. As does Exchange Server, should you want to run your own mail server and use all the scheduling and information–sharing functions that Exchange offers.

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