We can characterize types of networks with the size of the area covered, the number of users connected, number and types of services available and area of responsibility. The most important and famous types of network are:
Local Area Network (LAN)
It is the first and most important in the types of network. It provides access to users and end devices in a small geographical area such as a home network, or small business networks and a network in the same building. Following are the key points for LANs:-
- A limited geographic area such as home, office, and building.
- Allow multi-access to high bandwidth media.
- Full-time connectivity to local users.
- Control the network under local administration privately.
- Connected physically to adjacent devices.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is second in the types of a network which spans a physical area larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN (e.g., a city). MANs are typically operated by a single entity such as a large organization. MAN provides a link to the internet in the long run. A MAN usually incorporates a number of LANs to form a network. This large network MAN’s backbone comprises of an optical fiber set-up. It is a hybrid network between a LAN and a WAN. It also connects two or more LANs in the same geographic area.
A MAN might connect two different buildings or offices in the same city. However, whereas WANs typically provide low to medium-speed access, MANs provide high-speed connections, such as T1 (1.544Mbps) and optical services. The optical services also provided SONET (the Synchronous Optical Network standard) and SDH (the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy standard). With these services, carriers can provide high-speed services, including ATM and Gigabit Ethernet. Devices used to provide connections for MANs include high-end routers, ATM switches, and optical switches.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
It is the 3rd in the types of network providing access to other networks over a wide geographical area such as across cities, states and countries called Wide Area Network (WAN), which is typically owned and managed by a telecommunications service provider.
The WAN is opposite of the personal area networks (PANs), local area networks (LANs), campus area networks (CANs), or metropolitan area networks (MANs) which are usually limited to its area of responsibility. The easiest way to understand what a WAN is to think of the internet as a whole, which is the world’s largest WAN. The internet is a WAN because, through the use of ISPs, it connects lots of smaller local area networks (LANs) or metro area networks (MANs).
On a smaller scale, a business may have a WAN that’s comprised of cloud services, its headquarters, and smaller branch offices. The WAN, in this case, would be used to connect all of those sections of the business together. Computers connected to a wide-area network often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. We can also connect them through leased lines or satellites. WAN gives access through a serial interface which is generally slow. Its provide full-time and part-time connectivity.
This type of network is similar to a Local Area Network but wirelessly interconnects users and endpoints in a small geographical area. Wireless access points, a network of wi-fi routers are the examples of WLAN.
Storage Area Network (SAN)
A network infrastructure designed to support file servers and furthermore its provide data storage, retrieval, and replication.
Personal Area Network (PAN)
A Personal Area Network (PAN) is a computer network for communication between computer devices, including telephones and personal digital assistants, in proximity to an individual’s body. The devices may or may not belong to the person in question. The reach of a PAN is typically a few meters.