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.