Computer Networks and Types : PAN, LAN, WAN, MAN

In general if we talk about network is an arrangements of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines which connect systems. So computer network is a group of computers systems and other computing hardware devices that are linked together through the transmission channels. From the transmission channels systems communicate and share resources among wide range of users. Computer network is also differ in design approaches and mainly network design are client/server and peer-to-peer. Client-server network is common in business and peer-to-peer network is common in homes. Network topology defines the way the data flow and the layout. Some of the common type of network topologies are Bus, Star, Ring, Mesh.

Types of Computer Networks

There are different ways in which network can be classified like size, capabilities and the geographical distance a network cover. Some of the most common types of networks that we are going to discuss in detail:

Types of Computer Networks

LAN (Local Area Network)

LAN network is one of the commonly used network and one of the simplest. This network connects computer over a small distance such as within a building or a single computer lab consisting of many computers. This network do not contain more than one subnet because they are controlled by one administrator. Advantage of using this network is small distance data sharing cause less errors and noise are minimum. Data transfer rate is 10 to 100 mbps. Coaxial cable and CAT 5 cables are normally used for connection.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

This network is same as LAN but cover a distance an entire city or campus and formally connected with LAN. This network is larger than LAN but smaller than WAN network that we discuss later. Transmission media used by this network is fibre optic cables which provide efficient and fast communication. This network can be up to 5 to 50 km but data transfer rate is low as compared to LAN. MAN network is owned by organization and individuals like organization with the different branches located in the city.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

This network is slightly more complex in nature by connecting computers together over a large distance. The network capable to remotely connecting computers over a huge network and allowing them to communicate even when they are far apart. This network contain multiple LANs and MANs network such as internet using routers to transfer data or information faster and securely. MAN network is distinguished from other network in terms of geographical range. Data transfer rate in this network depends upon ISP provider and varies over the location. Sometimes it also use satellites and microwave relays. Example of WAN is Internet.

PAN (Personal Area Network)

This network is setup in the environment of an individual user which refers to the interconnection of devices or gadgets within range of 10 meters. Interconnected devices must be a laptop computer, PDAs, cellphones, printers, PCs or othe computer devices. Sometimes Pan is also known as wireless personal area network(WPAN). This is the technology that could enable wearable computer devices to communicate with other nearby computers and exchange information and data.