Types of Computer Networking

One way to categorize the different types of computer network designs is by their scope or scale. For historical reasons, the networking industry refers to nearly every type of design as some kind of area network. Common types of area networks are:

LAN: Local Area Network

A LAN connects network devices over a relatively short distance. A networked office building, school, or home usually contains a single LAN, though sometimes one building will contain a few small LANs (perhaps one per room), and occasionally a LAN will span a group of nearby buildings. In TCP/IP networking, a LAN is often but not always implemented as a single IP subnet.

WAN: Wide Area Network

As the term implies, a WAN spans a large physical distance. The Internet is the largest WAN, spanning the Earth.

A WAN is a geographically-dispersed collection of LANs. A network device called a router connects LANs to a WAN.

LAN, WAN and Home Networking

Residences typically employ one LAN and connect to the Internet WAN via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using a broadband modem. The ISP provides a WAN IP address to the modem, and all of the computers on the home network use LAN (so-called private) IP addresses. All computers on the home LAN can communicate directly with each other but must go through a central network gateway, typically a broadband router, to reach the ISP.

  • Wireless Local Area Network – A LAN based on Wi-Fi wireless network technology
  • Metropolitan Area Network – A network spanning a physical area larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN, such as a city. A MAN is typically owned and operated by a single entity such as a government body or large corporation.
  • Campus Area Network – A network spanning multiple LANs but smaller than a MAN, such as on a university or local business campus.
  • Storage Area Network – Connects servers to data storage devices through a technology like Fibre Channel.
  • MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks)

    MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Networks is one of a number of types of networks. A MAN is a relatively new class of network. MAN is larger than a local area network and as its name implies, covers the area of a single city. MANs rarely extend beyond 100 KM and frequently comprise a combination of different hardware and transmission media. It can be single network such as a cable TV network, or it is a means of connecting a number of LANs into a larger network so that resources can be shared LAN to LAN as well as device to device.

  • A body area network (BAN), also referred to as a wireless body area network (WBAN) or a body sensor network (BSN), is a wireless network of wearable computing devices. [1][2][3][4][5] BAN devices may be embedded inside the body, implants, may be surface-mounted on the body in a fixed position Wearable technology or may be accompanied devices which humans can carry in different positions, in clothes pockets, by hand or in various bags.[6]Whilst there is a trend towards the miniaturization of devices, in particular, networks consisting of several miniaturized body sensor units (BSUs) together with a single body central unit (BCU).[7][8] Larger decimeter (tab and pad) sized smart devices, accompanied devices, still play an important role in terms of acting as a data hub, data gateway and providing a user interface to view and manage BAN applications, in-situ. The development of WBAN technology started around 1995 around the idea of using wireless personal area network (WPAN) technologies to implement communications on, near, and around the human body. About six years later, the term “BAN” came to refer systems where communication is entirely within, on, and in the immediate proximity of a human body.[9][10] A WBAN system can use WPAN wireless technologies as gateways to reach longer ranges. Through gateway devices, it is possible to connect the wearable devices on the human body to the internet. This way, medical professionals can access patient data online using the internet independent of the patient location.[11]
  • A campus network, campus area network, corporate area network or CAN is a computer network made up of an interconnection of local area networks (LANs) within a limited geographical area.[1][2] The networking equipments (switches, routers) and transmission media (optical fiber, copper plant, Cat5 cabling etc.) are almost entirely owned by the campus tenant / owner: an enterprise, university, government etc.[3]
  • A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network used for data transmission amongst devices such as computers, telephones, tablets and personal digital assistants. PANs can be used for communication amongst the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet (an uplink) where one master device takes up the role as gateway. A PAN may be carried over wired computer buses such as USB.
  • A storage area network (SAN)[1] is a network which provides access to consolidated, block level data storage. SANs are primarily used to enhance storage devices, such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes, accessible to servers so that the devices appear to the operating system as locally attached devices. A SAN typically has its own network of storage devices that are generally not accessible through the local area network (LAN) by other devices to restrict access and to prevent traffic from the storage network from appearing on the LAN. The cost and complexity of SANs dropped in the early 2000s to levels allowing wider adoption across both enterprise and small to medium-sized business environments





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