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The Nine Most Important Types Of Computer Networks

In our daily lives, the various types of computer networks are in contact with users at different levels. For this reason, understanding the functioning and characteristics of each of these interconnections becomes essential to guarantee the proper development of the work of people and companies.

By knowing all the complexity of computer networks and their operation, you will be able to make the best infrastructure decisions for your company as well as you will be able to create a robust, reliable, and functional ecosystem for each specific task within your organization.

What are computer networks?

The Internet is a global network of computers, phones, and servers connected that exchange information. However, what many people need to learn is that this network is made up of many smaller networks with different scopes and functions. The latter is what we know as computer networks.

In this sense, there are different types of computer networks, so some are used to connect devices within the same room. Still, others can even interconnect entire organizations and countries.

However, whatever their size and scope, computer networks are made up of the following elements:

  • Servers: are responsible for processing the flow of data and centralizing network control.
  • Transmission media: consists of wiring or electromagnetic waves that allow the transmission of information.
  • Hardware elements: These are pieces, such as network cards, modems, routers, or repeater antennas, that allow communication and the physical establishment of the network.
  • Software elements: These are the programs necessary for the hardware to function and to manage the operating system.
  • Clients or workstations: these are computers that are not servers but are part of the network and use the resources managed by the server.

Also Read: How To Setup And Configure Your Computer

What are the most important types of computer networks?

As we have mentioned, different types of computer networks can be used that allow users to connect at different scales.

For this reason, computer networks are classified according to their complexity and size. Furthermore, they differ from each other in the tasks that users can perform.

Below, we present the eight most important types of computer networks :

1. LAN (Local Area Network)

Local area networks are one of the most common types of computer networks in homes and workplaces. These allow communication and sharing of documents between different digital devices within a relatively small space, such as a home or office. In addition, these networks stand out for being inexpensive and having high speed.

2. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

Metropolitan area networks mainly consist of interconnections of several LANs. In this way, they are a type of medium-sized computer networks that connect devices and users in spaces such as a community or a city.

They have pretty high throughput levels and are managed by a pool of everyday users or a regional network provider. In addition, they are the connection point between LAN networks and WAN networks.

3. WAN (Wide Area Network)

They are defined as wide-area networks since they are more extensive computer networks that encompass and interconnect LANs, MANs, and other types of computer networks.

Specifically, they connect regions or countries through satellites or telephone lines. However, the distance and types of connections mean that WANs generally have slower speeds, which usually are at most 2 Megabytes per second.

4. WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

Wireless local area networks are LAN-like networks that link multiple devices to form a regional network wirelessly, using WIFI to connect.

Among all types of computer networks, these are the most practical for users since they do not have to use Ethernet cables. However, they are more prone to cyberattacks.

5. CAN (Campus Area Network)

If it is about providing connectivity services to a network located in a medium-sized space, this type of computer network is usually used. Its infrastructure can connect university campuses or large corporate spaces. In the latter case, they changed their name to Corporate Area Network.

6. SAN (Storage Area Network)

They are used to link information and data storage units through high-speed networks. These networks are installed in parallel to a local network so that the stored data traffic does not slow down the traffic of the regional network used for communication between members of the company.

7. VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)

Virtual local area networks are a type of segmented computer networks within a regional network that enable the secure and private transfer of data. They are very similar to VPNs since they protect communication and transfer through a single connection between two computers on the same network.

8. PAN (Personal Area Network)

PANs connect and enable data transfer between devices of the same user, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. Today, many of these networks are wireless and use technologies such as Bluetooth to facilitate the exchange of information between consumer devices.

9. GAN (Global Area Network)

With 5.16 billion people, representing 64.4% of the world’s population, according to data from We Are Social’s Digital Report 2023, the Internet is the most significant example of a Global Network. However, it is not the only one.

Companies with a presence around the world usually use this type of computer network to work under unified criteria and share the infrastructure within their company, with the aim of having greater control. It is worth mentioning that, in turn, global networks are made up of other types of computer networks.

What are the different types of computer networks for?

The various types of computer networks have functionalities. Among them, we highlight the following:

  • They encourage communication through different electronic means.
  • They allow several users to use the same device.
  • They allow remote access based on the connection between computers and programs.
  • They guarantee the availability of information by helping users share and exchange files.
  • They increase the speed of data transmission.
  • These are tasks that organizations perform unconsciously; therefore, understanding the different types of computer networks and their operation is of vital importance.

What types of computer networks are for me?

At the moment when your company begins to connect its equipment to take advantage of Internet tools, it is essential to know what type of computer network adapts to your needs so that you can make the most appropriate business decisions.

Therefore, navigating and understanding the technicalities of the Internet is essential. Still, it is also necessary to have expert advice to support you and help you find the ideal connectivity solutions for your organization.

Also Read: Types Of Computer Attacks And Recommendations For Safe Browsing

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