*Review of Related *Literature Foreign Over the years, more enhancements were made to the cash registers until the early 1970s, when the first computer-driven cash registers were introduced. The first computer-driven cash registers were basically a mainframe computer packaged as a store controller that could control certain registers. These point of sale systems were the first to commercially utilize client-server technology, peer-to-peer communications, Local Area Network (LAN) backups, and remote initialization.
In the late 1980s, retail software based on PC technology began to make its way into mainstream retail businesses. Today, retail point of sale systems are light years ahead of where they began. Today’s POS systems are faster, more secure, and more reliable than their predecessors, and allow retailers to operate every facet of their business with a single, integrated point of sale system. (*http://www. retailsystems. com/history-of-retail-pos-systems. cfm*, July 28, 2009) A peer-to-peer network allows two or more PCs to pool their resources together.
Individual resources like disk drives, CD-ROM drives, and even printers are transformed into shared, collective resources that are accessible from every PC. Unlike client-server networks, where network information is stored on a centralized file server PC and made available to tens, hundreds, or thousands client PCs, the information stored across peer-to-peer networks is uniquely decentralized. Because peer-to-peer PCs have their own hard disk drives that are accessible by all computers, each PC acts as both a client (information requestor) and a server (information provider).
In the diagram below, three peer-to-peer workstations are shown. Although not capable of handling the same amount of information flow that a client-server network might, all three computers can communicate directly with each other and share one another’s resources. A peer-to-peer network can be built with both 10BaseT cabling and a hub or with a thin coax backbone. 10BaseT is best for small workgroups of 16 or fewer users that do not span long distances, or for workgroups that have one or more portable computers that may be disconnected from the network from time to time.
In a client-server environment like Windows NT or Novell NetWare, files are stored on a centralized, high speed file server PC that is made available to client PCs. Network access speeds are usually faster than those found on peer-to-peer networks, which is reasonable given the vast numbers of clients that this architecture can support. Nearly all network services like printing and electronic mail are routed through the file server, which allows networking tasks to be tracked. Inefficient network segments can be reworked to make them faster, and users’ activities can be closely monitored.
Public data and applications are stored on the file server, where they are run from client PCs’ locations, which makes upgrading software a simple task–network administrators can simply upgrade the applications stored on the file server, rather than having to physically upgrade each client PC. In the client-server diagram above, the client PCs are shown to be separate and subordinate to the file server. The clients’ primary applications and files are stored in a common location.