West Penn Wire Blog

What is a Network?

Posted by Samantha Flannery on Feb 13, 2019 9:00:00 AM
A network consists of two or more devices such as computers, servers, mainframes, network devices, and other devices connected to one another to allow the sharing of data. Typically these are connected via Wifi or Ethernet cables. 

In this article we will go over the four main types of area networks, their sizes and their purpose. 

The size of a network are categorized by the geographic area they occupy and the number of computers that are part of the network. Networks are meant to cover a variety of areas and devices, from a laptop in a small room to thousands of devices over an unlimited area. 

The traditional network sizes are categorized by: 

  • PAN
  • LAN
  • MAN
  • WAN

What the differences?

  • PAN or known as Personal area network. This is the smallest network such as a small room or space. The prime example of this is a Bluetooth or USB. Since products like cellphones, wireless headphones and Amazon's Alexa all essentially "talk" to each other they are all considered to be on their own network.
  • LAN or known as a Local area network. This is usually within an office setting or a home now due to the common use of WiFi and many more devices. This type of network is a group of computers or devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server now that dial up is a thing of the past.  LAN networking comprises of cables, switches, routers and other components that let users connect to internal servers and websites. Ethernet cables and Wi-Fi help to enable these connections. If you would like to learn more about Ethernet cables, click here
  • MAN or known as Metropolitan area network. A MAN connects cities and towns and is a medium-sized network and can carry several miles or tens of miles. Like a WAN (stated below), a MAN provides a shared network connection for its users. 
  • WAN or known as a Wide area network. WAN is a communications network that spans a large geographic area. The internet is the perfect an example of a WAN networking because it connects many MANs and LANs together. WANs are traditionally wired using fiber optic cables or WiFis

Want to learn more about West Penn Wire networking or networking accessories? Click on the link below:
Networking Accessories

Topics: ethernet, network

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