Most Important Types of Computer Networks in Today’s Age

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Networks have gained importance with the spread of computers over the last few decades. We use the network for every little task: from sending a file to downloading an attachment from an email. There are multiple types of computer networks these days.

In this article, we have categorized them according to their size and their purpose.

Pan (Personal Area Network) 

A personal area network is for one’s personal use. This is one of the most basic types of networks. PAN contains a wireless modem, one or two computers, mobile phones, printers, etc. This network revolves around a single person in a building. These networks are safe. They are good for small areas.

LAN (Local Area Network)

. You must have heard about it before. LAN connects a small group of devices in a small area. You can use it in schools and offices for file sharing. Its simplest form connects computers to printers in an office or any building. You can send messages and transfer data using the LAN.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

WLAN functionality is also the same as LANs. They also use wireless network technology. Typically, you can use WLAN for the same applications as LANs. You don’t need ethernet cables to set up this network.

CAN (Campus Area Network)

CANs are larger than LANs. You can use these types of networks in university campuses, school districts, and small business offices. If the buildings are fairly close to each other, you should go for CAN. Users can share their resources over this network.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

Metropolitan Area Network or MAN can cover an entire city. You can use this network for college campuses or a small region. Unlike LAN which is limited to a building, MAN is much larger. This network allows you to cover an area from several miles to tens of miles. There is some medium required for this type of networking. We commonly use Ethernet cables in this network. It offers fast communication using high-speed carriers like fiber optic cables.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

WAN (Wide Area Network) is another important computer network that is spread across a large geographical area. They could be a connection of a LAN that connects with other LAN’s using telephone lines and radio waves. It is mostly limited to an enterprise or an organization. WAN helps you to cover a larger geographical area. The most common example of WAN is the internet.

SAN (Storage-Area Network)

A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of storage devices to multiple servers. A SAN moves storage resources off the common user network and reorganizes them into an independent, high-performance network. This enables each server to access shared storage as if it were a drive directly attached to the server. When a host wants to access a storage device on the SAN, it sends out a block-based access request for the storage device.

SAN (System-Area Network)

System Area Network is ideal for a local network. It offers high-speed connections in server-to-server and processor-to-processor applications. The computers connected on a SAN network operate as a single system at quite high speed.

POLAN (Passive Optical Local Area Network)

Utilizing single-mode fiber optic cables as the dominant medium, a Passive Optical LAN (POLAN) can reach distances of 20 km or more—more than enough to be the perfect solution for large and small campus networks or multi-story buildings. When compared against legacy, copper laden architectures, Passive Optical LAN networks reduce complexity by flattening the LAN and simplify network moves, adds and changes. Plus, plans are not limited by the bandwidth or distance constraints of copper.

EPN (Enterprise Private Network)

As the name suggests, EPN or Enterprise Private Network is built and owned by the businesses that want to securely connect various locations to share numerous computer resources. 

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN is a private network that uses a public network to connect remote sites or users. The VPN network uses “virtual” connections routed through the internet from the enterprise’s private network or a third-party VPN service to the remote site.

It is a free or paid service that keeps your web browsing secure and private over public Wi-Fi hotspots.

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