In this tutorial, we will learn about different computer network types. A computer network is an interconnection of two or more computers or devices that are able to exchange data and information.
The computers may be connected via data communication channels like copper wires, satellites, radio links, optical fibers, etc. The network types are distinguished based on the following network characteristics like
- Computer network size
- Transmission Media
- Network Topology
Computer Network Types
The main computer network types are as follows::
- LAN (Local Area Network)
- MAN (Metropolitan Area Network
- WAN (Wide Area Network)
Local Area Network
LAN is a computer network widely used for local communication. LAN connects computers in a small area like a room, building, office or campus spread up to a few kilometers. They are privately owned networks, with the purpose to share resources and to exchange information. The computers in a LAN are generally connected using cables. Transmission protocols used in LAN are Ethernet, Token bus, and FDDI ring.
Example: Computer network of a small organization inside a building.
Metropolitan Area Network
MAN is a computer network spread over a city. The computers in a MAN are connected using coaxial cables or optic fiber cables. It may also connect several LANs spread over a city.
Example: The cable television network
Wide Area Network
WAN is a network that connects computers over long distances like different cities, countries, continents, or worldwide. WAN uses public, leased, or private communication links to spread over long distances. WAN uses telephone lines, satellite links, and radio links to connect.
Example: The Internet.