The types of network are classified based upon the size, the area it covers and its physical architecture. The three primary network categories are LAN, WAN and MAN. Each network differs in their characteristics such as distance, transmission speed, cables and cost.
LAN (Local Area Network)
Group of interconnected computers within a small area. (room, building, campus)
Two or more pc's can from a LAN to share files, folders, printers, applications and other devices.
Coaxial or CAT 5 cables are normally used for connections.
Due to short distances, errors and noise are minimum.
Data transfer rate is 10 to 100 mbps.
Distinguished on their transmission media and topology.
Example: A computer lab in a school.
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
Design to extend over a large area.
Connecting number of LAN's to form larger network, so that resources can be shared.
Networks can be up to 5 to 50 km.
Owned by organization or individual.
Data transfer rate is low compare to LAN.
Example: Organization with different branches located in the city.
WAN (Wide Area Network)
Are country and worldwide network.
Contains multiple LAN's and MAN's.
Distinguished in terms of geographical range.
Uses satellites and microwave relays.
Data transfer rate depends upon the ISP provider and varies over the location.
Best example is the internet.
WLAN (Wireless LAN)
A LAN that uses high frequency radio waves for communication.
Provides short range connectivity with high speed data transmission.
PAN (Personal Area Network)
Network organized by the individual user for its personal use.
SAN (Storage Area Network)
Connects servers to data storage devices via fiber-optic cables.
E.g.: Used for daily backup of organization or a mirror copy