Different types of communication and software systems

There are different types of communication and software systems existing. In 1964, BaranPaul Baran. On distributed communications networks. IEEE Transactions on Communications, 12(1):1-9, Mar 1964. was the first who define the three major architectural approaches for communication networks, which are centralized, decentralized, and distributed. Figure 1 shows the three different network schemes.

Centralized networks have a single authority (or a central control unit) that controls the whole system. Baran distinguishes between decentralized and distributed systems to the fact that decentralized systems still maintain structures of centralization on a smaller scale, whilst distributed systems are fully free from it.

Hence, in decentralized systems, there still exists a kind of central authority that controls the entire system, while in a distributed system, no such authority exists.

Figure 1

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