1.Local Area Network – This is one of the original categories of network, and one of the simplest. LAN networks connect computers together over relatively small distances, such as within a single building or within a small group of buildings.
Homes often have LAN networks too, especially if there is more than one device in the home. Often they do not contain more than one subnet, if any, and are usually controlled by a single administrator. They do not have to be connected to the internet to work, although they can be.
2.Wide Area Network – This is another of the original categories of network, and slightly more complex in nature. WAN networks connect computers together over large physical distances, remotely connecting them over one huge network and allowing them to communicate even when far apart. The Internet is a WAN, and connects computers all around the world together.
LANs connect to WANs, such as the internet, using routers to transfer data and information quickly and securely. WANs are usually too large to be controlled by one administrator, and so usually have collective ownership, or in the case of the internet, is publicly owned.
3.Metropolitan Area Network – This is a network which is larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN, and incorporates elements of both. It typically spans a town or city and is owned by a single person or company, such as a local council or a large company.
4.Campus Area Network – This is a network which is larger than a LAN, but smaller than an MAN. This is typical in areas such as a university, large school or small business. It is typically spread over a collection of buildings which are reasonably local to each other. It may have an internal Ethernet as well as capability of connecting to the internet.
5.Storage Area Network – This network connects servers directly to devices which store amounts of data without relying on a LAN or WAN network to do so. This can involve another type of connection known as Fibre Channel, a system similar to Ethernet which handles high-performance disk storage for applications on a number of professional networks.
Generally the two most common network types you will encounter are LAN, WAN and WLAN. This is not a full and comprehensive list of all of the types of network, however most bear similarities to the ones discussed here as a result of being developed directly from older versions such as LAN and WAN. Different networks are suitable for different needs, and as such, make sure you know your way around the types that you are most likely to use.
6.Personal Area Network – A personal area network, or PAN, is a computer network organized around an individual person within a single building. This could be inside a small office or residence. A typical PAN would include one or more computers, telephones, peripheral devices, video game consoles and other personal entertainment devices.
If multiple individuals use the same network within a residence, the network is sometimes referred to as a home area network, or HAN. In a very typical setup, a residence will have a single wired Internet connection connected to a modem. This modem then provides both wired and wireless connections for multiple devices. The network is typically managed from a single computer but can be accessed from any device.
This type of network provides great flexibility. For example, it allows you to:
- Send a document to the printer in the office upstairs while you are sitting on the couch with your laptop.
- Upload a photo from your cell phone to your desktop computer.
- Watch movies from an online streaming service to your TV.
If this sounds familiar to you, you likely have a PAN in your house without having called it by its name.