“The computer network is a set of computers connected to share resources.”An internet itself can be considered the computer network.
In computer networks, the computing devices exchange the data with each other by using the connections between nodes. The data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables or wireless media such as Wi-Fi.
The computer network is a digital telecommunication network which allows nodes to share the resources. It is the group of computer systems and other computing hardware devices. Those devices are linked together through communication channels to facilitate communication and resource sharing among a wide range of users.
Figure: The computer network.
There is an example of the earliest computer network that was the Network for communicating computers which are functioned as a part of the U.S. military’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment Radar System.
Networks are used to facilitate communication via email, video conferencing, instant messages, etc. It enables files sharing across the Network. These are also used to make information easier to access and maintain among the network users.
Types of Network
The Network is also used to enable the multiple users to share a single hardware device like the printer or scanner. It allows for sharing of software or operating programs on the remote system.
There are multiple devices or medium in a computer network, which helps in the communication between two different devices that are called as network devices.
Ex. Router, switch, bridge, hub, Gateway, Modem, Repeater. The Network is the interconnection of multiple devices and termed as hosts connected by using multiple paths to send and receive the data or media. The computer network is mainly of four types, which are given below:
- LAN (Local Area Network)
- MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
- PAN (Personal Area Network)
- WAN (Wide Area Network)
There are several types of protocols which are used in networking. The protocol is a set of rules or algorithms which defines the way how two entities can communicate across the Network, and different protocol is defined at every layer of the OSI Model.
1. LAN (Local Area Network)
The Local Area Network is a computer network which interconnects the computer within the limited area such as a residence, school laboratory, university campus or office building. LAN (Local Area Network) spans a relatively small area. In a wireless LAN, the users have unrestricted movement within the coverage area.
The wireless networks become popular in the residences and small businesses just because of their easy installation. The network topology describes the layout of interconnections between devices and network segments. The wide varieties of LAN topologies are used at the data link layer and physical layer.
2. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
The Metropolitan Area Network is a computer network which is similar to the Local Area network but spans an entire city or campus.
In Metropolitan Area Network, we interconnect the user with computer resources in a whole geographic area or region. This Network is larger or broader that the Local Area Network.
3. PAN (Personal Area Network)
The Personal Area Network is used for interconnecting the devices which are centered on a person’s workspace. This Network provides data transmission among devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and personal digital assistants.
Figure: The Personal Area Network.
4. WAN (Wide Area Network)
The Wide Area Network is the telecommunication network which extends over the large geographical area for the primary purpose of computer networking. These networks are often established with leased telecommunication circuits. The WAN connects different smaller networks, including the Local Area Network.
The computers connected to the Wide Area Network are often connected through public networks, such as telephone systems. This Network can connect through the leased lines or satellites.