Introduction to Types of Network
The network connects computers for the purpose of a. Sharing information, devices like printers/scanners and applications b. User Collaboration through Email, Chats and Video conferencing c. Playing games d.Voice calls. Computers are connected through network devices like Hub, Switch, Routers, Network Interface Card (NIC) and transmission media like wired connections (coaxial cables, optical fiber) and wireless (Antenna). The network is the backbone of the IT evolution and in the digital world, it plays an important role in connecting everything on the earth like equipment, machines, appliances, gadgets and moving objects. Networks can be classified based on its size and purpose it serves. The size of the network covers the geographical spread and the volume of the computers connected. In this article let’s analyze several types of networks.
Different Types of Network
The size of the Network can vary from connecting two computers inside a small room to lakhs of computers across the world. Different types of networks are:
1. Personal Area Network (PAN)
- Deployed mainly in a home environment, connecting one or more computers, printers, phones, other personal gadgets through modem either in wired or wireless mode.
- It serves the purpose of sharing documents & photos within nodes, accessing internet and entertainment.
2. Local Area Network (LAN)
- LAN connects computers and other equipment within a premise or building and it enables local users to share information through file servers, print documents thru centralized printers, do transactions through central servers and connect to outside networks in a secured manner through a firewall, routers.
- Computers and devices are connected through Hub, switches, network adapters, cables, and optic fibers. In modern LAN, computers are connected in wireless mode thru access points (Antenna) and it provides the flexible seating arrangement and freedom to millennials to work from anywhere within the office.
- LAN provides a high-speed network, optimizes the software licenses usage and saves cost by connecting the entire users through a single internet connection & sharing the resources effectively.
- A LAN can be logically split into multiple Virtual local area networks (VLANs) and they are connected through a router. Each VLAN will have its own characteristics and access can be restricted across VLANs for users.
3. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
- MAN integrates multiple LANs within a metro city into a bigger network. Optical fibers and Cables are the medium of MAN and it supports a distributed application environment. Information and resources can be shared across MAN by the users and the access can be restricted as required.
- MAN provides a platform for Organizations to plan their near-disaster recovery (Near DR) center in one of their facilities within the city, as a backup for critical enterprise applications. These near DR can work in synchronized data replication mode, which has zero data loss in case of switch over to DR during emergencies in the primary data center.
- Campus area network (CAN) is another version of the Metro network, widely used in a vast university campus. Each department can have its own LAN and they can be connected through CAN and students can share resources across these networks. MAN provides a solid backbone for building the Wide area network.
4. Wide Area Network (WAN)
- WAN links multiple LAN and MAN spread across a wide geography, into a secured single large network. It covers vast regions across a country and outside. WAN connect routers of individual LAN/MAN through the public leased line, MPLS and satellite connectivity.
- An Organization with multi-location manufacturing/marketing facilities can have one network and centralize the data center operation in a primary site and host the application over the WAN. Users can log in to the system from any location within the network and access centralized ERP seamlessly and share the resources efficiently.
5. Storage Area Network (SAN)
- SAN is an exclusive network connecting storage with servers. Storage devices are pooled together within the data center and they are shared with multiple servers for accessing data.
- An exclusive Ethernet/fiber channel network connecting storage with a server through protocols like serially attached Small computer system interface (SCSI), Fiber channel and internet SCSI (iSCSI), provide the high performance required in data storage/retrievals.
6. System Area Network
In a system area network, Servers are clustered through high-speed networks in a local environment and offered as consolidated computing power for power-intensive applications.
7. Enterprise Private Network (EPN)
EPN is built by businesses by connecting all the computers and devices across all the departments for the purpose of data exchange. This network manages all the operating systems of devices and communication protocols and provides a secured connection.
8. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers the best of both the world experience for online users by providing them the security of the local networks while accessing the public internet. In VPN, a private secured tunnel enables users to access the internet in a protected way as they work in their own network. Users access VPN servers through client software installed in their Desktop/Laptop/Tab/ Mobile devices. Client software sends the data to the VPN server in an encrypted way, masking the identity of the users and the VPN server, in turn, routes the data to the final online destination in a secure way.
Internet is a network of all networks connected through Routers, gateways, and bridges using Internet protocols. Users connect to the internet through Browsers using URL and get the information they want.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Networks
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of networks are given below:
- Enables centralized applications hosting/data storage and users accessing it through LAN, MAN, WAN in a secure way.
- Results in considerable cost saving thro centralized administration.
- Provides Real-time information to users.
- Ensures data integrity.
- Enables business transactions, net banking, across any geography.
- Optimizes software license usage and resource utilization.
- Provides a collaboration platform for employees and reduces travel cost.
- Vulnerability to cyber-attacks due to the exposure of network to the outside world.
- Set up cost is huge.
- Sensitive Data need to be encrypted and protected through the firewall.
- The administration of networks poses a challenge due to its size and spread.
Networks provide the much-needed background infrastructure for digital evolution by interconnecting computer devices. A lot of new applications are being built over various network platform and it is imperative that connectivity should be available on a 24×7 window.
This is a guide to Types of Network. Here we discuss Different Types of Network along with Advantages and disadvantages of networks. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –