types of computer networks

Types of Computer Networks and Their Key Differences

A computer network is a group of computers and other devices connected together to share data.

In the modern world, it is common to find a computer network in an office, school, or even at home.

A computer network can be wireless or wired and can be large or small.

Computer networks are frequently classified by their size and their coverage area, however, the most common type of computer networks is LAN (local area network) and WAN (wide area network). Some other types of computer networks could be:

  • Personal Area Network (PAN)
  • Campus Area Network (CAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

Personal Area Network (PAN)

A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network that links two or more devices within a person’s reach, typically within arm’s length. It connects two or more of an individual’s personal devices that are near to one another. The most common form of PAN is Bluetooth, but other PANs exist.

PANs are most often connected wirelessly and can be used via Bluetooth or another short-range networking technology. They also allow you to connect wirelessly to the internet so you can use Google or other cloud services.

For example, connecting your phone to a portable speaker or connecting a smartphone and other devices to a smartwatch are the most common examples of a Personal Area Network (PAN).

Campus Area Network (CAN)

A Campus Area Network (CAN) is a network that connects the buildings on a university campus e.g., the dean’s office, administration block, classrooms, cafeteria, hostels, security office, etc. It can be wireless or wired and it provides high-speed Internet access to the students, faculty, and staff of the university.

Campus Area Networks are used by colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. The network is used for the purpose of providing a communication infrastructure for all the computers and other devices at these institutions.

Campus Area Networks have become crucial to the functioning of these educational institutes because they provide them with internet access, data storage, disaster recovery, and security.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a metropolitan area, typically a city or town.

Some wireless MANs are created by cities to provide low-cost or free Internet access to residents of a given metropolitan area. They may also be called municipal Wi-Fi projects.

A MAN is typically used in an enterprise setting to connect offices and buildings within the same geographical area. It is also used in some cases as a backup for other networks such as the Internet or to extend the range of other networks.

The MAN provides high-speed data transfer rates because it uses fiber optic cables, which are faster than copper cables.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A Local Area Network (LAN) is a group of computers, printers, and other devices that are connected over a relatively small geographical area such as an office building. A Local Area Network (LAN) can be wired or wireless.

The first LAN was created by the Xerox Corporation in 1973. It consisted of 3 computers, one printer, and one file server.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a large geographical area.

A WAN is typically made up of two or more LANs that are linked together using different communications technologies. It is a critical part of the corporate infrastructure, providing an essential connection between remote sites and the corporate data center.

The Internet is the largest WAN in the world.

A WAN, for example, may be used by a firm to transfer data from one location to another, such as from each retail store to the corporate headquarters.

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