A computer network is a group of computers and other hardware devices that are connected together to enable communication and resource sharing among a number of users. In a typical computer network, the computer devices share data with each other using the data links between nodes. The connections are installed over optical cables or wireless media like Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Computer networks encourage a large number of applications and services. These include digital audio and video, World Wide Web platforms, sharing of apps and storage servers, fax machines, printers, etc. The Internet is a perfect example of a computer network.
What are the Types of a Computer Network?
Following are the various types of a computer network:
Local Area Network (LAN)
Local Area Network connects the computing devices over a short distance. For e.g. office building, home, school, etc. LAN is a secure network because the connected devices are within the premises. Hence the data shared among these devices are safe and cannot be accessed by an outsider. LAN is considerably faster and its speed ranges between 100 to 100Mbps.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
Metropolitan Area Network covers a wider area than LAN and smaller area than WAN. MAN connects computing devices that are far away from each other but in the same cities. It can also serve as an Internet Services Provider (ISP). MAN provides high-speed connectivity. The propagation and data transfer rate are moderate in MAN.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
Wide Area Network covers a large geographical area greater than MAN. However, it is limited within the state or country borders. WAN technology comes with high speed and more expensive as compared to LAN and MAN. The architecture of WAN is complex and needs efforts to maintain. The speed of WAN ranges from few Kbps to Mbps. WAN is prone to noise and error due to long-distance data transmission.
What are the Characteristics of the Computer Network?
Response time is the metric used to calculate the performance of the computer network. The response time should be minimal during sending and receiving data between nodes.
- Communication Speed
Computer networks provide you an efficient and easy way of communication among a group of people.
- Hardware and Software Sharing
You can install software programs and applications on the central server from where another user can access them easily. You can also share hardware like scanner and printers via a computer network.
Computer networks allow high-level security where only the network users can access critical files and applications.