Computer Networks – Types
What Are the Important Types of Computer Networks?
There are various types of computer networks available. We can categorize them according to their size as well as their purpose.
The size of a network should be expressed by the geographic area and number of computers, which are a part of their networks. It includes devices housed in a single room to millions of devices spread across the world.
Some of the most popular network types are:
What is PAN (Personal Area Network)?
PAN is a computer network formed around a person. It generally consists of a computer, mobile, or personal digital assistant. PAN can be used for establishing communication among these personal devices for connecting to a digital network and the internet.
Characteristics of PAN
- It is mostly personal devices network equipped within a limited area.
- Allows you to handle the interconnection of IT devices at the surrounding of a single user.
- PAN includes mobile devices, tablet, and laptop.
- It can be wirelessly connected to the internet called WPAN.
- Appliances use for PAN: cordless mice, keyboards, and Bluetooth systems.
Advantages of PAN
Here, are important pros/benefits of using PAN network:
- PAN networks are relatively secure and safe
- It offers only short-range solution up to ten meters
- Strictly restricted to a small area
Disadvantages of PAN
Here are important cons/ drawback of using PAN network:
- It may establish a bad connection to other networks at the same radio bands.
- Distance limits.
What is LAN?
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a group of computer and peripheral devices which are connected in a limited area such as school, laboratory, home, and office building. It is a widely useful network for sharing resources like files, printers, games, and other application. The simplest type of LAN network is to connect computers and a printer in someone’s home or office. In general, LAN will be used as one type of transmission medium.
It is a network which consists of less than 5000 interconnected devices across several buildings.
Characteristics of LAN
Here are important characteristics of a LAN network:
- It is a private network, so an outside regulatory body never controls it.
- LAN operates at a relatively higher speed compared to other WAN systems.
- There are various kinds of media access control methods like token ring and ethernet.
Advantages of LAN
Here are pros/benefits of using LAN:
- Computer resources like hard-disks, DVD-ROM, and printers can share local area networks. This significantly reduces the cost of hardware purchases.
- You can use the same software over the network instead of purchasing the licensed software for each client in the network.
- Data of all network users can be stored on a single hard disk of the server computer.
- You can easily transfer data and messages over networked computers.
- It will be easy to manage data at only one place, which makes data more secure.
- Local Area Network offers the facility to share a single internet connection among all the LAN users.
Disadvantages of LAN
Here are the important cons/ drawbacks of LAN:
- LAN will indeed save cost because of shared computer resources, but the initial cost of installing Local Area Networks is quite high.
- The LAN admin can check personal data files of every LAN user, so it does not offer good privacy.
- Unauthorized users can access critical data of an organization in case LAN admin is not able to secure centralized data repository.
- Local Area Network requires a constant LAN administration as there are issues related to software setup and hardware failures
What is WAN?
WAN (Wide Area Network) is another important computer network that which is spread across a large geographical area. WAN network system could be a connection of a LAN which connects with other LAN’s using telephone lines and radio waves. It is mostly limited to an enterprise or an organization.
Characteristics of LAN:
- The software files will be shared among all the users; therefore, all can access to the latest files.
- Any organization can form its global integrated network using WAN.
Advantages of WAN
Here are the benefits/ pros of using WAN:
- WAN helps you to cover a larger geographical area. Therefore business offices situated at longer distances can easily communicate.
- Contains devices like mobile phones, laptop, tablet, computers, gaming consoles, etc.
- WLAN connections work using radio transmitters and receivers built into client devices.
Disadvantage of WAN
Here are drawbacks/cons of using WAN:
- The initial setup cost of investment is very high.
- It is difficult to maintain the WAN network. You need skilled technicians and network administrators.
- There are more errors and issues because of the wide coverage and the use of different technologies.
- It requires more time to resolve issues because of the involvement of multiple wired and wireless technologies.
- Offers lower security compared to other types of networks.
What is MAN?
A Metropolitan Area Network or MAN is consisting of a computer network across an entire city, college campus, or a small region. This type of network is large than a LAN, which is mostly limited to a single building or site. Depending upon the type of configuration, this type of network allows you to cover an area from several miles to tens of miles.
Characteristics of MAN
Here are important characteristics of the MAN network:
- It mostly covers towns and cities in a maximum 50 km range
- Mostly used medium is optical fibers, cables
- Data rates adequate for distributed computing applications.
Advantages of MAN
Here are pros/benefits of using MAN system:
- It offers fast communication using high-speed carriers, like fiber optic cables.
- It provides excellent support for an extensive size network and greater access to WANs.
- The dual bus in MAN network provides support to transmit data in both directions concurrently.
- A MAN network mostly includes some areas of a city or an entire city.
Disadvantages of MAN
Here are drawbacks/ cons of using the MAN network:
- You need more cable to establish MAN connection from one place to another.
- In MAN network it is tough to make the system secure from hackers