Types of Networks
Just as there are different levels of groups of friends together, there are different levels of networks. The three most common are Personal Area Network (PAN), Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN). Let’s take a look at what makes these networks different and what types of hardware they commonly use.
Personal Area Network (PAN)
PANs are relatively short-ranged networks, usually intended for communicating between a couple of devices. This would be like you and your friends getting together and networking over lunch. PANs are usually found in homes, between a couple of computers and possibly a printer and scanner through the use of a router.
Local Area Network (LAN)
The local scene is an example of a LAN where many people can come together. This location is big enough for everyone, but they do not have to be in the same place. LANs are usually found in office spaces, where the server room may be in one area and the physical computers in another area. These types of networks generally use network interface cards, which are adapters installed on a computer with the responsibility of connecting that computer to the network.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
The last of the three types of networks is the WAN. This network would be similar to instant messaging with your friends or chatting with them via Skype. This type of network uses switches and hubs to help control the flow of data and communications over a long distance. Companies who have national or international conglomerates uses WAN’s to keep everyone in the company connected.
Going In-Depth With Computer Networking
It is simple to think about networking if you can imagine physical interactions between people. Computer networks work the same way. If you would like a more in-depth understanding of computer networking, seek out local classes or go sit with your IT department during your lunch. The art of computer networking truly is a fun world.
Next week, we’ll talk about Hardware and Software in general, and how it all works together to create a “personal computer”…