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What are they, what are they for, and what types of computer networks exist?

In this article we will explain what computer networks are and what they are for. Then we will show you how these networks can be classified.

What are computer networks

Also called computer networks, they are the interconnection of an indeterminate number of devices through a physical medium. The way they work does not differ much from any other communication process.

In its most basic form there is a sender, a receiver, a message, a means by which the message is transmitted and a series of codes or protocols that serve to understand it.

The big difference is that both the sender and the receiver are computers, and the entire process is carried out digitally. Although we are not aware of them, computer networks are present in almost every aspect of our lives. Finally, it is very important that you do not confuse the types of networks with the main network services that currently exist .

What are computer networks for?

These connections are used to share information between many devices. In practice, when many computers are connected in a network, communication is created between all of them without using secondary devices, such as pendrives.

What types of computer networks exist

Computer networks can be classified based on many variants, such as their connection, topology, degree of diffusion, among others. However, in this article we will focus on one of the most used classifications: based on its scope or coverage.

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Personal Area Network (PAN) – Personal Area Network

These connections have a very limited range and a low data transmission rate. They are used to communicate devices that are separated by a few meters. For that reason, they are not able to connect equipment that is in different rooms or buildings. It has a wireless variant called Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN).

Due to their characteristics, the main use of PAN and WPAN networks is focused on the home and everyday use environment. For example, when connecting wireless speakers to a computer or a SmartWatch to a mobile, we are in the presence of a WPAN network. In this other article we will show you how to create a WPAN Network .

Local Area Network (LAN) – Local Area Network

LAN networks allow the interconnection between 2 or more computers. Depending on the capabilities of the components that make up the connection, LAN networks can have a range of several kilometers, with throughputs of up to 1,000 Mbit / s. Therefore, it is very common to find these connections in homes, public institutions, small businesses and educational institutions.

A Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is a wireless LAN. These allow the integration of many devices in a comfortable and orderly way. An everyday example is found in offices, where this network is used to connect many computers together and easily transfer files from one computer to another without using an external disk. If you want to know more about the local area network, we recommend that you click here .

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) – Metropolitan Area Network

networks connection

A MAN network interconnects multiple LANs in a nearby geographic area. In general, the operating companies are those that have the necessary infrastructure to carry out the interconnection.

On the other hand, the distance can represent a problem for the speed of the connection. For this reason, fiberglass cables are often used to maximize data transfer efficiency. If you want to know more about the operation of the metropolitan area network, then click here .

On the other hand, its wireless variant, Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN), is widely used to provide a stable and efficient Internet connection to populations that do not have the necessary infrastructure.

Wide Area Network (WAN) – Wide Area Network

WAN networks have a much more extensive reach, since they cover the territory of many countries or continents. For that reason, in principle, the number of local networks (LANs) that can be interconnected in a WAN is unlimited.

Due to their size, WANs generally belong to a specific company or organization that offers its infrastructure to other companies. These, in turn, fulfill the role of Internet providers (such as Vodafone ) that offer the connection to companies and homes.

Global Area Network (GAN) – Global Area Network

It is about the global network of networks, that is, the Internet itself. However, it is not an individual connection, since companies with a presence in many countries also have their own network of servers.

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