There are several types of computer networks, but the main ones are:
- Local Area Network (LAN)
- Wide Area Network (WAN)
- 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.
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.
Advantages of Networks
- Speed – transferring files is done quickly in networks
- Cost – less software and hardware need to be purchased
- Easy Management – Software are installed in a central location (the server), so updates can be dispatched easily through the server
- Resource Sharing – All machines in the network are connected to the same resource (printer, storage server)
Disadvantages of Networks
- If the server goes down, stored information on it becomes inaccessible
- Resources connected to the network becomes inaccessible
- Possible risk of attack from virus and hackers
- As traffic increases on a network, the performance degrades
- Larger networks become more difficult to manage