Basics of Computer Networks


Computer network is an interconnection between two or more hosts/computers. The connectivity can be physical by using cables or virtual using wireless network. Different types of networks include LAN, WAN, MAN, etc., as shown below −

Network Types

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network (LAN) provides data communication within shorter distance and connects several devices such as computers and printers. This type of network contains computers that are relatively closer and are physically connected with cables and wireless media. Any network that exists within a single building, or even a group of adjacent buildings, is considered as LAN. It is often used to connect separate LANs together so they can communicate and exchange data.

LAN Network

Wide Area Network (WAN)

Wide Area Network is connecting two or more LANs together, generally across a wide geographical area.


A company may have its corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant located in one city and marketing office in another city. Each site needs resources, data and programs locally, but it also needs to share data with other sites. To accomplish this, the company can attach devices that connect over public utilities to create a WAN.

wan network

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is an extensive network that connects numerous corporate LANs together. Usually MANs are not owned by sole organization. Their communication devices and equipment are maintained by a group or single network provider that sells its networking services to corporate customers. MANs often take the role of high-speed network that allows sharing of regional resources. MANs also can provide a mutual connection to other networks using a WAN link.

MAN Network