Networking and Infrastructure

Computer System Networking

There are different types of Computer Networking that you may need for your home or office. To begin with you have the option of a wired or wireless computer network. These types of networks differ. A wired computer network will have copper or fiber optic cabling running between computers while a wireless network uses radio waves and/or microwaves to maintain communication channels.

A client/server network works by using client devices, typically PCs with network applications that request and receive information over the network. The server device will usually store files in databases and includes more complex applications like Web sites. These devices often feature high-powered central processors, more memory and larger disk drives than the client devices. Two examples of client-server systems include Web browsers and servers.

There are also types of area networks. These are categorized by their scope or scale. Some area network types include:
  • LAN – Local Area Network
  • WAN – Wide Area Network
  • WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network – a LAN based on WiFi wireless network technology
  • MAN – Metropolitan Area Network – a network spanning a physical area larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN, such as a city. A MAN is typically owned an operated by a single entity such as a government body or large corporation.
  • CAN – Campus Area Network – a network spanning multiple LANs but smaller than a MAN, such as on a university or local business campus.
  • Storage Area Network – connects servers to data storage devices through a technology like Fibre Channel.
  • System Area Network – links high-performance computers with high-speed connections in a cluster configuration. Also known as Cluster Area Network.

These are just a few of the various types of area networks. LAN and WAN were the original categories of area networks but through the evolution of technology we have been forced to keep adding more and more types due to the ever-changing field.

A LAN network will connect devices over a relatively short distance. This may include a building, school, or home that will contain a single LAN. Sometimes one building will contain a few small LANs and on the other hand a LAN may span a group of nearby buildings. A WAN spans a large distance. The Internet is the largest WAN as it covers the Earth. A network device called a router will connect LANs to a WAN. These are typically not owned by any one organization like LANs but are under a distributed ownership and management system.