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What Is a Computer Network? (Definition and Types)

A computer network is a system of interconnected computers that share data and resources. Computer networks can be used for many different purposes, such as sharing files and printers, sending emails and messages, or accessing the Internet.

What is a computer network and why do we need them

A computer network is a collection of computers and peripheral devices, such as printers and routers, connected together with the help of internet protocols for sharing information. They come in many sizes and designs, from brief LANs within a single building to wide area networks that span multiple cities. In this day and age, computer networks are an essential part of our lives since they allow us to send data quickly over long distances and make it easy for diverse users to collaborate on projects over the internet. Through them, we can also gain access to online learning resources, electronic libraries, streaming media and much more. Without them we would be unable to participate fully in our increasingly digital world.

How do computer networks work

Computer networks are amazing technology that allow different computers to efficiently communicate and share information. In an average network, each computer will have a unique IP address, just like a mailing address to identify itself and identify the other computers it needs to communicate with. This allows for efficient communication among all the connected devices. Depending on the size of the computer network, it also uses components such as routers and cables to help move data around quickly and effectively. Finally, for even larger computer networks, there are servers that can store data or host services such as webpages or email inboxes so that anyone within the network can access them without having to log into individual computers. All of these components come together in a complex but powerful way so that people all over the world can interact online through various types of computer networks.

The different types of computer networks

There are several primary types of computer networks that determine which technology is best for the task. Wired local area networks (LANs) move large amounts of data quickly and provide consistent security within an area such as a business or home. Wireless LANs offer this same service but make use of radio frequency instead of CAT6 cabling. WANs span a much larger area than either wired or wireless LANs, typically covering entire cities and sometimes even inter-regional distances. They can also offer many security services generally unavailable over smaller networks because they employ more complex operations. These three basic types of computer networks form the basis of the world’s communications infrastructure and provide an indispensable resource to those using technology in their business and personal lives.

1.Nanoscale networks:

Nanoscale networks are extremely small networks of computers, usually consisting of no more than a few hundred nano-devices. They are used mainly in research and development to test out new technologies at the smallest level possible.

2.Personal area network (PAN):

A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network used for communication between devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices that are close to one person. PANs usually have a range of up to 10 meters.

3.Local area network (LAN):

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that links two or more computers in the same geographical location, such as an office building, school campus, or home. LANs are typically used to share resources between users and connect devices to each other and the Internet.

4.Storage area network (SAN):

A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network designed to provide access to shared storage devices. SANs are typically connected to corporate networks and allow users to quickly access files stored on the storage device.

5.Campus area network (CAN):

A campus area network (CAN) is a computer network that links multiple LANs within a university, college or other large organization such as a business. CANs can provide access to resources such as printers and databases, as well as connected computers in the same building or even across different campuses.

6.Metropolitan area network (MAN):

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that covers an entire city or metropolitan region. It typically provides high-speed connections between LANs in different parts of the city, and can connect multiple campuses within the same organization. MANs are often connected to WANs and Internet gateways, allowing users to access services outside their own network.

7.Wide area network (WAN):

A wide area network (WAN) is a computer network that spans a large geographical area, such as multiple cities or countries. WANs are typically used to connect LANs and other types of networks together, allowing users in different locations to access shared resources. WANs can also provide access to the Internet and other external networks.

8.Enterprise private network (EPN):

An enterprise private network (EPN) is a secure computer network that is used exclusively by one organization. It typically connects multiple LANs and other types of networks, allowing the organization to share resources internally as well as with external organizations.

9.Virtual private network (VPN):

A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure tunnel that connects two or more computers across the Internet. It is used to provide privacy and security for data transmitted over public networks, such as the Internet. VPNs are often used by remote workers who need to access resources on their company’s internal network.

10.Wireless mesh network (WMN):

A wireless mesh network (WMN) is a self-configuring, infrastructure-less computer network that consists of radio nodes connected by wireless links. It allows data to be transferred quickly and efficiently between mesh nodes without the need for wiring or access points. WMNs are often used in applications such as home automation and smart cities.

11.Sensor network:

A sensor network is a computer network that uses sensors to measure physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, pressure, humidity, and motion. Sensor networks are often used in applications such as home security systems and medical monitoring devices.

12.Cloud-based network:

A cloud-based network is a computer network that uses cloud computing technologies to store and manage data, applications, and services. It allows users to access resources from any location with an Internet connection. Cloud networks are often used by businesses to reduce costs and improve scalability.

13.Internet of Things (IoT):

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices, sensors, and other physical objects that are connected to the Internet. It allows users to monitor and control the environment around them in real time. IoT networks are often used in applications such as home automation, healthcare, and transportation.

Based on organizational intent, networks can be classified as:

  1. Intranet: An intranet is an internal private network owned by an organization, used to securely share information and resources among its members.
  2. Internet: The Internet is a global network of computers, servers, and other devices that are connected to each other via the public internet. It allows users to access resources from anywhere in the world
  3. Extranet: An extranet is an extension of a private network that allows authorized users outside the organization to access resources in a secure, controlled environment.
  4. Darknet: A darknet is a private network that cannot be accessed by standard search engines and can only be used by users with specific authorization. It is often used to access restricted content or to facilitate illegal activities.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a computer network

Computer networks allow for people and devices to transfer data on a global scale, helping to streamline processes and making collaboration easier between devices. On the other hand, like any technology, using a computer network has its drawbacks too. One of the most common issues is potential security breaches, as hackers can use them to gain access to sensitive data. Another major setback when using a computer network is downtime, which can affect productivity and communication if not managed properly. Despite these potential issues, the advantages of using a computer network still outweigh the disadvantages for many modern businesses. It allows them to connect multiple users and devices with each other in real-time, resulting in more efficient information sharing and faster decision making.

Tips for setting up a computer network in your home or office

Setting up a computer network in your home or office is an important step for anyone who works remotely and relies on multiple devices for their work. Knowing where to start can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is ensuring you have compatible hardware. After that, use an ethernet cable in order to create the most reliable connection between each device. To increase security, make sure to use a firewall and antivirus software so that you are well-protected against any malicious threats. Finally, choose a network router with enough bandwidth to handle your traffic needs and set passwords for each device on the network. With just a few simple steps, you can easily set up secure computer networks both at home or work in no time!


A computer network is a system that connects two or more computers together so that they can share resources like files, printers, and Internet connections. Networks come in different shapes and sizes, but all networks have three basic components: nodes, links, and protocols. Nodes are the individual devices (computers, printers, etc.) that make up the network. Links are the physical connections between nodes. Protocols are the rules that govern how data is sent over the network. By understanding these basics concepts, you can better choose the right type of computer network for your needs and set it up quickly and easily.

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