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Computer Networks & Types of Computer Network (Explained)

Learning about the computer network and its system of connection may seem like something that nerds or tech-savvy enthusiasts would enjoy, but that is not necessarily true. You don’t need to be a computer expert to learn the basics of how computer networks work.

In this guide, I’ll explain computer networks and the types of computer networks.

Computer network and types of computer networks

If that sounds like what you’re looking for, then let’s dive right in!

What is a Computer Network?

As the name suggests, a computer network refers to the connection between two or more computers to communicate data electronically. The important function of a network system is to establish a cohesive architecture that allows for a variety of paths to transfer information.

The computer network also comes down to what kind of network connection it provides to these computers for data connection, which will be explored in this content.

Types of Computer Network

1. Local Area Network (LAN):

It is referred to as a group of computers that are connected in a physical location, such as an office.

In LAN, two or more computers are connected through a communication medium like a coaxial cable, etc. This makes it a less costly option, requiring inexpensive hardware like network adapters, Ethernet cables, hubs, etc.

LAN also offers higher security which prevents external interference. Data is also transferred at an extremely faster rate in LAN connection.

2. Personal Area Network (PAN):

It is a network that is arranged within one user. It is used to connect devices for personal use. Personal Area Network covers an area of around 30 feet. The devices can be connected to personal area networks such as laptops, mobile phones, media players, or play stations.

Personal Area Network has two types:

  • Wired Personal Area Network that can be created by using the USB and;
  • Wireless Personal Area Network that you can develop by using wireless technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth.

3. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN):

Metropolitan Area Network covers a large area by interconnecting with different LANs and forming a larger network.

MAN can provide communication between banks in a city. It can be used in airline reservations. It can also be used for communication purposes in the military. Moreover, it is also provided by internet service providers (ISPs) covering large distances. Comcast Xfinity is one example of an ISP that provides a metropolitan area network connection spanning over a large geographical area and provides Xfinity Internet services to people in that area.

4. Wide Area Network (WAN):

This is a network connection that extends over a large geographical area such as countries or states. It is not limited to a single country, rather spans over the area through telephone lines, fiber cables, and satellite connections.

A mobile network connection is one example of a Wide Area Network and it is widely used across any region or country.

5. Internetwork:

In this type of network, two or more computer networks such as LAN or WAN are connected using devices. They are also configured by a local addressing scheme, which is known as internetworking.

It also refers to an interconnection between private, public, industrial, or government computer network connections. This type of computer network uses internet protocol.

An internetwork is categorized into the following types;

  • Extranet: A communication network that is based on internet protocol like transmission control protocol or internet protocol. An extranet is used for information sharing, however, its use is restricted to users who have access to login credentials. An extranet is the lowest level of internetworking and can be categorized as MAN, WAN, etc. There is no single LAN in the extranet because it must have at least one connection to an external network.
  • Intranet: Intranet is also based on internet protocol like transmission control protocol and internet protocol. However, the intranet belongs to an organization and can only be accessed by the employees and members of that organization. An intranet allows for information and resource sharing among the employees. They can also make use of facilities such as teleconferences.

Bottom Line

LAN has multiple advantages over MAN and WAN in such a way that LAN offers reliability, a high data transmission rate, and is easily manageable. However, LAN cannot cover cities, and in this scenario, MAN is used to connect cities and large areas. Finally, for connecting countries, a WAN connection is used.

So there we have it, the different types of computer networks are used for data transmission between multiple devices.

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