types of networking
There are several different types of computer networks. Computer networks can be characterized by their size as well as their purpose.
The size of a network can be expressed by the geographic area they occupy and the number of computers that are part of the network. Networks can cover anything from a handful of devices within a single room to millions of devices spread across the entire globe.
Some of the different networks based on size are:
- Personal area network, or PAN
- Local area network, or LAN
- Metropolitan area network, or MAN
- Wide area network, or WAN
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.
Local Area Network
A local area network, or LAN, consists of a computer network at a single site, typically an individual office building. A LAN is very useful for sharing resources, such as data storage and printers.
Metropolitan Area Network
A metropolitan area network, or MAN, consists of a computer network across an entire city, college campus or small region. A MAN is larger than a LAN, which is typically limited to a single building or site.
Wide Area Network
A wide area network, or WAN, occupies a very large area, such as an entire country or the entire world. A WAN can contain multiple smaller networks, such as LANs or MANs. The Internet is the best-known example of a public WAN.