Introduction to Computer networks

An introduction to Computer networks

In today’s world, computer networks play an important role in digital communication. Whether you need to send an email, communicate over video calls or chats, a computer network is involved.

So, what is a computer network?

A computer network is a group of computers connected together so that they can share information and resources. Computer networks play an important role and are the basis of today’s communication. Every system in a specific computer network uses a common set of communication protocols. The nodes of a computer network can be a personal computer or server (depending upon the network).

Many services are supported by the computer networks such as the world wide web(www), email, chats, video/audio, streaming.

Types of computer network –

Computer networks can be classified by transmission medium, bandwidth, communication protocols, architecture, geographical locations.

Classification of Computer Networks by geographical spread –

Local Area Network – A local area network (abbreviated as LAN) is a group of computers and peripherals such as printers that share a common wired communication line or wireless link to a server within a limited geographic area. A LAN is typically set up in an office or at home. The data in a local area network is transferred at an extremely faster rate.

Metropolitan Area Network – Like its name, a metropolitan area network (commonly known as MAN) is a computer network that connects computers within a metropolitan region which could be a small city, multiple cities, or a metro city. In MAN, various LANs are connected by telephonic lines.

Wide Area Network – A Wide Area Network (also known as WAN) is a network that spans over a larger geographical region such as states or countries. This network is quite larger than LAN and MAN and is made up of connecting various LANs and WANs together. This network uses optical cables or satellite links for connectivity. The most common example of a Wide Area Network is the Internet.

Personal Area Network – A Personal Area Network is a network that interconnects devices around a person’s workplace.

Campus Area Network – A Campus Area Network (known as CAN) is a type of network that connects computers and devices within a limited area such as a school, college, or a building. A CAN is smaller than MAN and larger than a LAN.
A Campus Area Network is also known as Corporate Area Network.

Wireless LAN – A wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is a wireless network that connects two or more systems or devices within a smaller range. The connection is provided through an access point for internet access. The IEEE 802.11 group of standards define the technologies and protocols for wireless communication in WLANs. The group uses Ethernet protocol and CSMA/CA for path sharing. Networks using the IEEE 802.11 WLAN standards are marketed under the name ‘WiFi’.The WLAN is also known as LAWN (Local Area Wireless Network).

Wireless MAN – These are wireless networks that cover larger areas like cities and suburban areas.

Classification of Computer networks on the basis of architecture –

Network architecture is classified into the following categories :

Peer to Peer Network – In this type of network, the term “peer” represents computer systems that are connected to each other through the internet. Every system in this network can be thought of as an individual server as well as a client having all the capabilities. Every system in this network can send and receive messages and share files with each other directly.

Client-Server Architecture – This is a type of computer network in which there is a central system (called a server) and every other system is known as a client. In this, every system sends a request to the server for communicating with the other systems.

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