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A fat client (also called rich client and thick client)

does as much processing as possible and passes only data for communications and storage to the server.[1]


Originally known as just a "client" or "thick client", the name is contrasted to thin client, which describes a computer heavily dependent on a server's applications.

A fat client still requires at least periodic connection to a network or central server, but is often characterized by the ability to perform many functions without that connection. In contrast, a thin client generally does as little processing as possible and relies on accessing the server each time input data needs to be processed or validated.


  1. AR 25-1, at 130.

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