Study the Importance of Types of Networks: LAN, MAN, and WAN

Computer Networks are often differentiated based on the connection mode, like wired or wireless. They are categorized into different types depending on the requirement of the network channel. 

The network established is used to connect multiple devices to share software and hardware resources and tools.

In this article on ‘Types of Networks,’ we will look into different types of networks and some of their important features.

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What Is a Computer Network?

A computer network is a connection between two or more network devices, like computers, routers, and switches, to share network resources.

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The establishment of a computer network depends on the requirements of the communication channel, i.e., the network can be wired or wireless.

Next, let’s look into the types of networks available.

Types of Networks

According to the communication requirements, multiple types of network connections are available. The most basic type of network classification depends on the network's geographical coverage.

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Below mentioned are different types of networks:

  • PAN (Personal Area Network)
  • LAN (Local Area Network)
  • MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
  • WAN (Wide Area Network)

Let’s look into each of the network types in detail.

What Is Local Area Network (LAN)?

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The Local Area Network (LAN) is designed to connect multiple network devices and systems within a limited geographical distance. The devices are connected using multiple protocols for properly and efficiently exchanging data and services. 

Attributes of LAN Network:

  • The data transmit speed in the LAN network is relatively higher than the other network types, MAN and WAN.
  • LAN uses private network addresses for network connectivity for data and service exchange, and it uses cable for network connection, decreasing error and maintaining data security.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LAN Network

Advantages 

Disadvantages

Transmission of data and services is relatively higher than other network connections.

Need constant administration of experienced engineers for functioning.

The Network Server acts as a central unit for the whole network. 

Probability of leak of sensitive data by LAN administration.

Now let’s move on to the next network type, MAN Network.

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What Is Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)?

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The Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a network type that covers the network connection of an entire city or connection of a small area. The area covered by the network is connected using a wired network, like data cables.

Attributes of MAN Network:

  • Network covers an entire town area or a portion of a city.
  • Data transmission speed is relatively high due to the installation of optical cables and wired connections.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MAN Network:

Advantages 

Disadvantages

Provides Full-Duplex data transmission in the network channel for devices. 

High probability of attack from hackers and cybercriminals due to large networks.

The network connection area covers an entire city or some parts using the optic cables.

The need for good quality hardware and the installation cost is very high.

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What Is Wide Area Network (WAN)?

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The Wide Area Network (WAN) is designed to connect devices over large distances like states or between countries. The connection is wireless in most cases and uses radio towers for communication.

The WAN network can be made up of multiple LAN and MAN networks.

Attributes of WAN Network:

  • The speed of the WAN data transfer is lower than in comparison to LAN and MAN networks due to the large distance covered.
  • The WAN network uses a satellite medium to transmit data between multiple locations and network towers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of WAN Network:

Advantages

Disadvantages

This network covers a high geographical area and is used for large-distance connections.

High cost to set up the network and the Support of experienced technicians is needed to maintain the network.

They also use radio towers and connect channels for users.

It is difficult to prevent hacking and debug a large network.

Difference Between LAN, MAN, and WAN

Basis

LAN

MAN

WAN

Meaning 

LAN is a network that enables the communication between many linked devices. It is in charge of establishing connections among neighborhood units, including universities and schools.

Several computers can be connected to MAN in the same city or separately. It encompasses a greater region, including minor towns and cities.

The WAN network extends to a much greater area. It can link multiple countries together.

Network Authority

LAN is a private and secured network. Hospitals, schools, offices, etc., can own it.

MAN can be either public or private. A lot of businesses and telephone companies could own them.

A single company may not own WAN. It can be private or public.

Speed

The Internet speed provided through LAN is fast.

MAN provides a modest Internet connection speed.

WAN provides a slow Internet connection.

Maintenance 

LAN maintenance is very easy.

MAN's maintenance is easier compared to LAN.

WAN maintenance is very difficult.

Congestion 

Congestion is less in the LAN network. 

It is more in MAN.

Congestion is more in WAN when compared to LAN and MAN.

Bandwidth

The bandwidth in LAN is very high.

In MAN, bandwidth is less.

WAN bandwidth is quite limited.

Designing

It is very easy to design a LAN network.

It isn't easy to design a MAN network.

It is complicated to design WAN.

How to Set Up The Networks?

LAN

Ethernet is the foundation of all existing LANs, whether wired or wireless. Computers and servers can connect via cables or wirelessly. WiFi Access Points provide wireless connectivity in combination with a wired network. WAP-enabled devices serve as a link between PCs and networks. A WAP may connect a hundred or even a thousand wireless individuals to a network. Servers on a LAN are generally connected by wire.

MAN

A metropolitan area network combines many LANs with a fiber optic as the basis. It offers services akin to those offered by an internet service provider for broad area networks. MANs can use microwave or infrared lasers to connect Local Area Networks wirelessly. MANs are often owned by just one significant organization and are mainly created for towns or cities to give a high data connection.

WAN

Users and computers in one area may interact with users and computers in other locations via a WAN, composed of two or more interconnected Local Area Networks or Metropolitan Area Networks. Computers in a Wide Area Network are linked by public networks such as phone lines, satellite connections, or leased lines. To extend the network's capabilities across locations, costly leased lines are usually used to build WANs. At each end of a leased line, a router is attached.

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How Do These Networks Function?

LAN

A local area network is a collection of computers and other technology with a common communication line or wireless network and, in most cases, the facilities of an individual server or processor within a limited geographic region. Typically, the server houses shared data storage and applications for many computer users.

MAN

Multiple LANs are connected by metropolitan area networks using specialized wireless and wired foundations. A MAN may link to a network exchange point and a local exchange carrier to offer connections between LANs and instantaneous communication between the MAN and the open Internet.

WAN

A point to another service that can employ traditional dial-up lines or modems to link the device to the phone line. Point-to-point WAN service suppliers include both local mobile phone providers and long-distance operators.

Characteristics of These Networks

LAN 

  • LANs are simple to construct and maintain.
  • To link the LAN networks, a centralized database is needed.
  • A private owner owns the network.

MAN 

  • The geographical region covered exceeds that of LAN.
  • Through this network, there is more than one computer connected.

WAN

  • WAN covers the biggest region, comparable to a nation.
  • WANs can be networked all over the world.
  • Through phone lines or satellites, the networks are connected.

Benefits of These Networks 

LAN 

  • Its main advantages are the local area network's rapid, simple setup and low cost.
  • Keeping everything stored on the server safe and secure is done through data protection. 
  • LAN model and established ethernet cabling allow a system linked to a LAN to interact directly at a very high speed.

MAN

  • MAN offers more security than WAN and is simpler to deploy.
  • Due to MAN's lower resource requirements than WAN, MAN deployment costs are lower than WAN. It reduces the cost of implementation.
  • MANs may be controlled centrally, making network traffic monitoring and control easier.

WAN

  • WAN has a wide geographical coverage.
  • The information connected to every device in the relevant network can be shared through the WAN network.

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Disadvantages of the Networks 

LAN 

  • Local area networks are only utilized in structures since they cannot be used in larger regions.
  • Unauthorized users may access data if the server's equipment is not appropriately configured and there is a technology issue. 
  • There are restrictions on how many devices may be connected to LANs.

MAN 

  • Because of the huge size, it is difficult to safeguard the system from hackers. 
  • To link MAN from one location to another, extra cables are necessary. MAN necessitates the use of fiber optic connections, which are relatively costly.
  • MAN takes up a lot of space, making managing a big network difficult.

WAN 

  • Because WAN networks combine more technologies, they have more security issues when compared to LAN and MAN networks.
  • Because of their enormous geographical coverage, WANs are complex and convoluted.
  • A lot of time must be spent troubleshooting the WAN network.

Some Other Types of Computer Networks 

PAN - A personal area network links electronic devices near a user's vicinity. A PAN can range in size within a few meters. Both wired and wireless PAN network connections are possible. A PAN's devices may communicate data with one another, but as most PANs lack a router, they cannot directly access the Internet. On the other hand, a device within a PAN can be linked to a local area network, which subsequently connects to the Internet.

Conclusion

In this article on ‘Types of Networks,’ we looked into the types of computer networks. Also, we learned some information about the features of each network, along with the advantages and disadvantages of the networks.

To further gain information on the topic of computer networks and apply them practically to design communication channels, you can refer to Simplilearn’s Advanced Executive Program in Cyber Security. With the completion of this professional course, you’ll be proficient with terms related to computer networks.

If you have any questions about this article on ‘Types of Networks.’ Feel free to mention them in the comment section at the bottom of this page. Our expert team will help you solve your queries at the earliest.

FAQs

1. What is the importance of a LAN?

Allow sharing of resources, including printers, applications, and other shared services. Permit many computers on a LAN to utilize a single internet connection. 

2. What is the importance of a WAN?

Through a WAN provider, WANs can make it easier for devices worldwide to communicate, share information, and do much more. 

3. What is the function of LAN cable in networking?

 The LAN cable allows several devices to communicate with one another.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

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