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Computer Networks and its types

Learn: What is Computer Network? In this article, we will also discuss about the various types of computer Networks?
Submitted by Abhishek Jain, on August 05, 2017

Computer Network is a system of interconnected computers that enable the computers to communicate with each other and share their resources, data and applications. The physical location of each computer is tailored to personal and organizational needs. A network may include only personal computers or a mix of PCs, minis and mainframes spanning a particular geographical area. Computer networks that are commonly used today may be classified as follows:

  1. Based on geographical area:
    1. Local Area Networks (LANs)
    2. Wide Area Networks(WANs)
    3. Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs)
    4. Personal Area Network (PAN)
  2. Based on how computer nodes are used:
    1. Client Server Networks (CSNs)
    2. Peer-to-Peer Networks (PPNs)
    3. Value-added Networks (VANs)

1) Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN is a group of computers (as shown in Fig.1), that are connected in a small area such as building, home, etc. Through this type of network, users can easily communicate with each other by sending and receiving messages. LAN is generally used for connecting two or more personal computers through some medium such as twisted pair, coaxial cable etc. Through the number of computers connected in a LAN is limited, the data is transferred at an extremely faster rate.

LAN in computer networks


2) Wide Area Network (WAN)

WAN is a group of computers that are connected in a large area such as continent, country, etc. WAN is generally used for connecting two or more LANs through some medium such as leased telephone lines, microwaves, etc. In WAN, data is transferred at slow rate. A typical WAN network is shown in Fig .2.

WAN in computer networks


3) Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

MAN is a network of computers that covers a large area like city. The size of the MAN generally lies between LAN and WAN, typically covering a distance of 5 km to 50 km. The geographical area covered by MAN is comparatively larger than LAN but smaller than WAN. MAN is generally owned by private organizations. MAN is generally connected with the help of optical fibers, copper wires etc.

One of the most common examples of MAN is cable television network within a city as shown in Fig.3. A network device known as router is used to connect the LANs together. The router directs the information packets to the desired destination.

MAN in computer networks


4) Personal Area Network (PAN)

PAN is the interconnection of information technology devices within the range of an individual person, typically within a range of 10 meters.

For Example: a person traveling with a laptop, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a portable printer could interconnect them without having to plug anything in, using some form of wireless technology such as WiFi. Typically, this kind of personal area network could also be interconnected without wires to the Internet or other networks. You can use PAN networks to transfer files including email and calendar appointments, digital photos and music etc from your portable devices such as phones and tablets to PC and vice versa.

PAN in computer networks




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