Computer Network Definition

Intermediate – Web/Development

Reading Time – 1 minute, 29 seconds

Computer network definition is connecting two or more computers to exchange information and share hardware resources such as printers and file servers with each other. The largest computer network is the Internet which connects millions of computers across the world.

In the beginning, the copper cables were used in the computer networks to transmit data from one computer to another. Later, other mediums such as optical fiber, radio waves, and infrared in microwaves were also used to transmit data. With the technological advancements, now people mostly use WiFi and sometimes even satellite signals to transmit data among the computers in a network. Any form of data such as documents, images, videos, audio, etc, can be shared through a computer network.

What are the types of computer networks?

Now that you know the computer network definition, let’s learn about the different kinds. The networks can be categorized into the following types based on the area they cover geographically.

Personal Area Network (PAN) is a small personal network formed connecting devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops often using wireless technology such as Bluetooth, infrared and near field communication (NFC).

Local Area Network (LAN) is a network formed connecting a group of devices that are in close proximity to each other such as computers, servers, and printers using network devices such as switches and hubs. A LAN spans over a single building such as a university lab or an office building.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a network that spans several buildings in a city or town. MANs are typically connected using high-speed connections such as fiber optics cables.

Wide Area Networks (WAN) is the largest type of network. A WAN may include multiple MANs and LANs. It is a network that spans over a large geographical area such as a country, a continent or even the entire globe. The Internet is a good example of a WAN.

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