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Fundamentals of Computer Networking

This tutorial will discover the definition of computer networking, its types, computer networks work, networking concepts, commonly used terms, networking and internet, how it works, and network topologies.

What is a Computer Network?
“A Computer Network is defined as a set of two or more computers that are linked together? either via wired cables or wireless networks i.e., WiFi with the purpose of communicating, exchanging, sharing or distributing data, files and resources.”

Computer Networks are built using a collection of hardware (such as routers, switches, hubs, and so forth) and networking software (such as operating systems, firewalls, or corporate applications).

Though one can also define the computer networks based on their geographic location, a LAN (local area network) connects computers in a definite physical dimension, such as home or within an office.

In contrast, a MAN (Metropolitan area network) connects computers ranging between multiple buildings in a city.

The Internet is the most significant example of WAN (Wide Area Network), connecting billions of networking devices across the world.

One can also describe the concept of computer networking by its communicating protocols, the physical arrangement of its networking elements, how it manages network traffic, and it’s functioning.

Computer networks are globally used by businesses, the entertainment industry, education in the research field for communication and transferring their data from source to destination node.

All the other technologies, including the internet, Google search, instant messaging apps, online video streaming, social media, email, cloud kitchen, cloud data storage, etc., all exist because of computer networks.

Computer Network Types

Below are the most common computer network types that are frequently used these days:

  • LAN [Local Area Network]
  • WLAN [Wireless local area network]
  • CAN [Campus Area Network]
  • MAN [Metropolitan Area Network]
  • PAN [Personal Area Network]
  • SAN [Storage Area Network]
  • VPN [Virtual Private Network]
  • WAN [ Wide Area Network]

1. LAN (Local Area Network)

LAN or Local Area Network is a group of devices connecting the computers and other devices such as switches, servers, printers, etc., over a short distance such as office, home. The commonly used LAN is Ethernet LAN. This network is used as it allows the user to transfer or share data, files, and resources.

2. WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

WLAN or Wireless local area network is similar to LAN with the difference that it uses wireless communication between devices instead of wired connections. WLAN typically involves a Wi-Fi router or wireless access point for devices, unlike smartphones, laptops, desktops, etc.

3. CAN (Campus Area Network)

CAN or Campus Area Network is a closed corporate communication network. A CAN is a mobile network that may contain a private or public part. CANs are widely used colleges, academies, and corporate sites.

4. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

MAN or Metropolitan Area Network is typically a more extensive network when compared to LANs but is smaller than WANs. This network ranges between several buildings in the same city. Man networks are connected via fiber optic cable (usually high-speed connection). Cities and government bodies usually manage MANs.

5. PAN (Personal Area Network)

PAN or Personal Area Network is a type of network used personally and usually serves one person. This network usually connects devices unlike your smartphones, laptop, or desktop to sync content and share small files, unlike songs, photos, videos, calendars, etc. These devices connect via wireless networks such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Infrared, etc.

6. SAN (Storage Area Network)

SAN or Storage Area Network is a specialized high-speed network that stores and provides access to block-level storage. It is a dedicated shared network that is used for cloud data storage that appears and works like a storage drive.

SAN consists of various switches, servers, and disks array. One of the advantages of SAN is that it is fault-tolerant, which means if any switch or server goes down, the data can still be accessed.

7. VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure tool that encrypts point-to-point Internet connection and hides the user’s IP address and virtual location. It determines an encrypted network to boost user’s online privacy so as their identity and data are inaccessible to hackers.

8. WAN (Wide Area Network)

WAN or Wide Area Network is the most significant network type connecting computers over a wide geographical area, such as a country, continent. WAN includes several LANs, MANs, and CANs. An example of WAN is the Internet, which connects billions of computers globally.

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