Networking – Types of Networks

There are several types of computer networks, but the main ones are:

  1. Local Area Network (LAN)
  2. Wide Area Network (WAN)
  3. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Local Area Network (LAN) – these are computers and devices that are connected in small and limited area like a school, the office a lab etc. The data transfer rates are the lowest of the three networks mentioned.








Wide Area Network (WAN) – A WAN consists of several LANs connected together over the internet. WANs covers the largest geographical area of all networks.

Wide Area Network Image courtesy of

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) – MANs fall between the LAN and WAN. They cover a larger area than the LAN, but are much smaller than a WAN. As the name suggests, MANs covers cities.

MAN image courtesy of

Advantages of Networks

  1. Speed – transferring files is done quickly in networks
  2. Cost – less software and hardware need to be purchased
  3. Easy Management – Software are installed in a central location (the server), so updates can be dispatched easily through the server
  4. Resource Sharing – All machines in the network are connected to the same resource (printer, storage server)

Disadvantages of Networks

  1. If the server goes down, stored information on it becomes inaccessible
  2. Resources connected to the network becomes inaccessible
  3. Possible risk of attack from virus and hackers
  4. As traffic increases on a network, the performance degrades
  5. Larger networks become more difficult to manage