Types of Computer Networks

There are two major types of computer networks.  One is LAN, and the other is WAN. Let’s explain both these terms

1. LAN

In a Local Area Network (LAN), a group of computers are connected to each other within a limited area like an office, building, etc.

  • Communication Medium: Twisted pair, coaxial cable, Wi-Fi or Blue-Truth etc.
  • Devices: HUB or Switch
  • Speed: Highest speed (almost 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps) as compared to other Networks.
  • Security: Higher security because of a limited number of computers in a limited range.

Examples: Computer Lab: Almost 20 to 50 computers are connected through LAN.

2. WAN

WAN is a much bigger network than LAN. It covers large geographical areas such as states or countries.

  • Communication Medium: Fiber optic cable, satellite links, telephone lines.
  • Devices: Routers, satellites
  • Speed: 56Kbps to 50 Mbps.
  • Security: Less Secure than LAN.

Examples

The Internet is the best example of WAN, which connects millions of users all over the world to share information. Such as

  • ATMs of a bank located in different cities connected through the Internet
  • NADRA offices in different cities of Pakistan are connected through the Internet
  • FB chatting all over the world, etc.

Keep in Mind: If the computers in the network are connected through the internet, then it will be WAN; otherwise, if the computers are connected without the internet, then that network may be a LAN, PAN or MAN, etc.

Types of LAN

LAN is further categorized into its types

  • PAN(Personal Area Network)
  • MAN(Metropolitan Area Network)
  • Campus Area Network (CAN)
  • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

1.  PAN (Personal Area Network)

  • PAN is the smallest and most basic type of network that connects personal devices by using wired or wireless technology.
  • Personal Area Network covers an area of 30 feet.
  • Wireless PANs are more common than wired PANs. Wireless PANs use Blue-Truth or Wi-Fi technology to connect devices.
  • These devices to form a network may include portable PCs, smartphones, digital cameras, printers, etc.

2. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

WLAN uses the wireless network technology, such as Wi-Fi. This technology relies on Wi-Fi or Blue-Truth instead of physical cabling.

3. Campus Area Network (CAN)

CAN is Larger than LANs but smaller than MAN. The campus area network can cover several buildings which are fairly close to each other’s.

4. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

  • Interconnecting of two or more LANs to form a larger network is known as MAN. It is a network within the city.

Examples:

  • Cable TV network in a city
  • Connecting different campuses of a company in the same city
  • Network connection of different branches of a company in the same city