Types of Computer Network : LAN, MAN, WAN

On the basis of geographical area coverage (geographical spread); this type of computer network is classified into three basic types, which include:

  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Wide Area Network(WAN)

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network (LAN) is the interconnection of computers in a limited geographical area like in a single room, rooms within a building, it building on one site. It is smaller in size, simpler in structure, and cheaper than other networks. In a typical LAN, there is a server that consists of additional software and hardware. A LAN is useful for sharing resources like files, software programs, printers, plotters, disk drives, games, or other application services.

What is Local Area Network (LAN)?
Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN can operate at a speed of several 100 Mbps. Most local area networks use relatively cheap hardware components such as Ethernet cables, network adapters, and hubs. Wireless LAN and other more advanced LAN hardware are also used at present.

Network operating system is required for local Area Network. For example, Microsoft Windows provides Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) software which allows establishing a LAN network and gives access to its resources.

Advantages of LAN
  1. Data transmission speed is faster than MAN and WAN.
  2. It has higher security to the resources of the network.
  3. It is cheaper to establish.
  4. It is easier to establish, manage the network, operate it and provide security.
Disadvantages of LAN
  1. It is limited only to a small area.
  2. It connects a comparatively less number of computers.
  3. Lack of backup provision compares to MAN and WAN.
  4. LAN can only connect a number of computers in a particular area such as a school, in a building, and in a space often associated with a PC computer. However, rarely LAN covers more area than MAN and WAN.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is extended up to a city in a larger geographical area than LAN. A MAN can connect several LANs. It is used to connect multiple systems or network mostly uses bridges, repeaters, routers, switches, A cable TV network is an example of MAN.

What is Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)?

Advantages of MAN
  1. It is spread to a larger area than LAN.
  2. It connects comparatively many numbers of computers than LAN.
  3. It can connect dissimilar systems and networks.
  4. Banks to connect with their branches within a geographical area uses a MAN.
Disadvantages of MAN
  1. It uses comparatively expensive hardware components than used in LAN.
  2. Data transmission speed is usually slower compared to LAN.
  3. It is difficult to establish, manage the network and provide security.
  4. It is expensive to run than LAN.

Wide Area Networking (WAN)

Wide Area Network (WAN) is used to interconnect computers spread to a larger geographical area like in separate cities or countries. It is also called a Long Haul Networks (LHNs). It is the combination of several smaller networks, such as local area networks (LANs) or metropolitan area networks (MANs).

What is Wide Area Network (WAN)?

Communication is useful done through satellite, microwave systems, or optical fibers. It uses devices like routers, gateways, switches, etc. These devices are much more expensive than those used in LAN. WAN provides most of the facilities found in LAN and MAN. However, the transmission speed is usually slower, and maintaining security is comparatively complex. SONET, Frame Relay, and ATM use advanced technologies based on WAN.

Advantages of WAN
  1. It is spread to a large area than LAN and MAN.
  2. It connects a comparatively larger number of computers than LAN and MAN.
  3. It also connects dissimilar systems and networks.
  4. WAN network seeks to connect any place with other places in the world as Tokyo or Moscow in just minutes, without the need to afford a big sum of money for a payphone.
Disadvantages of WAN
  1. It uses comparatively expensive hardware components than used in LAN and MAN.
  2. Transmission speed is usually slower (using the same types of transmission media) compare to LAN and MAN.
  3. It is difficult to establish, manage the network and provide security.
  4. High qualified technical personnel and government agencies work together to establish this type of network. Thus invest money and effort is very top.

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