A network can be defined as the interconnection of autonomous computers linked together to facilitate communication while networking is the simple concept of connected computers.
Networks and networking have grown exponentially over the last 15years; they have evolved at light speed just to keep up with huge increases in basic critical user needs such as sharing data and printers, as well as more advanced demands such as video conferencing.
TYPES OF NETWORKS
LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN)
A LAN (Local Area Network) is a group of computers and network devices connected together, usually within the same building. A Local Area Network (LAN) is a high-speed communication system designed to link computers and other data processing devices together within a small geographical area, such as a workgroup, department, or building. Local Area Networks implement shared access technology. This means that all the devices attached to the LAN share a single communications medium, usually a coaxial, twisted pair or fibre optic cable.
METROPOLITAN AREA NETWORK (MAN)
Metropolitan area networks or MANs are large computer networks usually spanning a city or a town. They typically use wireless infrastructure or optical fibre connections to link their sites.
The IEEE 802-2001 standard describes a MAN as being: “A MAN is optimized for a larger geographical area than is a LAN, ranging from several blocks of buildings to entire cities. MANs can also depend on communications channels of moderate to high data rates. A MAN might be owned and operated by a single organization, but it usually will be used by many individuals and organizations. MANs might also be owned and operated as public utilities. They will often provide means for internetworking of local networks. Metropolitan area networks can span up to 50km.”
WIDE AREA NETWORK (WAN)
Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a broad area. A WAN in compares to a MAN, is not restricted to a geographical location, although it might be restricted to a geographical locations, it might also be confined within the bounds of a state or country. A WAN connects several LANs, and may be limited to an enterprise (a corporation or organization) or accessible to the public.
The technology is high speed and relatively expensive. The INTERNET is an example of a worldwide public WAN.
Routers are used to connect networks together and route packets of data from one network to another. Routers, by default break up a broadcast domain, which is the set of all devices on a network segment that hear all broadcasts sent on that segment.