Types of Networks

Networking is necessary for today’s modern commerce. It’s helpful to understand the basics when it comes to networking technology and the types of networks. After all, networks change the way we live and work!

What is a Network?

First of all, let’s clarify what a network is. A network is two or more computers that are linked in order to exchange information with each other. In a nutshell, networks are for sharing. A network consists of computers that can also share resources like printers, and they are linked through cables, satellites, or phone lines. Almost all servers will be connected to the network by cable connections because of their speed. Cables also connect desktops to the network.

There are basically two types of networks that are extremely common: Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN).

Local Area Network (LAN)

A Local Area Network (LAN) is usually small and confined to a limited area like one campus or building. LANs can link a few computers or hundreds of them. Computers can be connected to each other on one LAN through cables or even wirelessly. A wired network can be accessed wirelessly by using wireless access points. These wireless access points can connect hundreds of other wireless users to the network. There are a variety of network cable types that can be arranged in many various ways. Routers, printers, and the like can have their own network attachments. The networking software makes it possible for you to use shared devices as if they were local.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

WANs are fairly complicated, and they connect networks that are further away from each geographically. This is made possible by satellite links, dial-up phones, and transoceanic cabling. This means that a user can communicate to other users across the globe without a huge phone bill. They can even conduct teleconferences in real time so that users can communicate through webcams and microphones.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

With WLANs, connections to LANs can be made without the need for a physical connection to a cable. This gives users the freedom and mobility to access shared resources wirelessly as long as they are within the area of designated network coverage. WLANs use an access point that provides wireless coverage for a limited area. The access point provides a bridge between an existed Ethernet LAN and all of the wireless-equipped computers within range of the access point. The range of access points varies, but each usually covers a radius of about 250 feet or less. Security across wireless links in extremely important. This is why WLANs use authentication as well as encryption to maintain security for the user.