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Computer networking is defined as an interconnection of two or more computers. This allows the computers to communicate and share the resources available.

Common Applications

  • Share available hardware resources
  • Share software and database
  • Establish communication among connected computers
  • Exchange of data and information
  • Share information over geographically wide areas

Benefits of Computer Networking

  • Sharing
  • Connectivity
  • Increased speed
  • Decreased cost
  • Improved security
  • Centralized software management
  • Electronic mails
  • Flexible access

Five Common Types of Computer Networking

  1. PAN
  2. LAN
  3. WAN
  4. MAN
  5. CAN

Personal Area Network (PAN)

As the most basic type of network, a PAN consists of a wireless modem, one or two computers, mobile phones, printers, tablets, etc. These types of networks are usually found in small offices or residences and are managed from a single device by one person or organization. It can also be used to communicate between personal devices to connect to a digital network and the Internet itself.

Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN connect a number of computers and low- voltage devices over short distances (in a building or in close proximity between two or three buildings) to share information and resources. Companies normally manage and maintain LAN. All machines on LAN are connected to one cable. Usually, it is a private network. LAN can connect to wide area networks (WANs) with routers to transmit data quickly and safely.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

The WAN connects large number of computers spreading across a long geographical distance. This allows computers and low- voltage devices to communicate remotely over a large network. Due to WAN’s capacity of wide reaching; it is usually owned and maintained by several administrators or the public. The majority of WAN networks are used to transmit large data blocks between their users.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

These network types are larger than LANs but smaller than WANs– and include elements of both network types. MANs cover a whole geographical area (typically a city or town, but sometimes a campus). Ownership and maintenance are carried out by one person or company (local council, large company, etc.).

Campus Area Network (CAN)

Campus area network consists of a LAN connection with a limited geographical area. Network devices such as switches, routers, optical fiber etc. are entirely owned by the campus network owner. Typically, these types of networks are seen in universities, large K-12 school districts or small companies. They can be spread over several buildings which are relatively close together so that users can share resources.