Workgroup and domains provide the ability for multiple Windows-based computers to communicate on a network. This offers the ability for file and printer sharing on both systems. There are many differences between the two, the foremost being how the two systems connect. Workgroups have computers connect to each other directly whereas domains have the computers networked to a central location. How each system manages accounts and permissions is another of the differences.
A workgroup is when some computers are connected via a router or a switch. Identifying each machine on the network is one of the first steps when creating a workgroup. In a workgroup, every computer that is linked together serves its data to every other one. Some benefits of this style of a network are that it allows the administrator account on each computer to set the permissions on it. This, however, makes it more difficult to add new users or when used in large groups.
A domain network set up uses a central computer as a hub and administrator account which is connected to all other computers. This makes adding new computers and users very easy. The central computer that is being used as the hub can also simply modify the settings of the computers on the network by only using the central hub computer. Another benefit of using a domain is that it allows the servers to run on the entire network, taking some load off of the end users’ machines.
The best network configuration for a small business environment would be a
domain due to the ability to modify settings on all computers on the network via a single hub computer. This allows the management of the business to set their own security and network settings easily onto every computer on the network. Also, the ability to be able to have thousands of computers in a domain makes it an intelligent choice if a small company ever thinks of expanding. It is easy to see why networks using the domain configuration are the right choice when concerning a small business environment.