Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is LAN, WLAN, WAN, MAN, SAN, CAN, PAN and GAN ?

Computer networks are bunch of interconnected PC or computers that facilitate the exchange of data or some other purposeful work. The first computer network to be designed was the "Advanced Research Projects Agency Network" (ARPANET) for the United States Department of Defense in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From then on, numerous new network technologies have been developed.

Computer networks can be classified into different types based on their scale of operation. They include:
  • LAN: Local Area Networks cover a small physical area, like a home, office, or a small group of buildings, such as a school or airport.

  • WLAN: Wireless Local Area Networks enable users to move around within a larger coverage area, but still be wirelessly connected to the network.

  • WAN: Wide Area Networks cover a broad area, like communication links that cross metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries. The Internet is the best example of a WAN.

  • MAN: Metropolitan Area Networks are very large networks that cover an entire city.

  • SAN: Storage Area Networks help attach remote computer storage devices, such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes, to servers in such a manner that that they appear to be locally attached to the operating system.

  • CAN: Controller Area Networks allow micro controllers and devices to communicate with each other without a host computer.

  • PAN: Personal Area Networks are used for communication among various devices, such as telephones, personal digital assistants, fax machines, and printers, that are located close to a single user.

  • GAN: Global Area Networks support mobile communications across an arbitrary number of wireless LANs and satellite coverage areas.

  • INTERNETWORK: Internetworking is the process of connecting two or more distinct computer networks or network segments through a common routing technology.

Computer networks are an integral part of our lives. It is only because of networking that telephones, televisions, radios, and the Internet are at our fingertips.