Network Types – By Span Of Geographical area

By | February 9, 2013

Network Types :

Computer networks can be classified based on various parameters . One such classification parameter is geographical area the networks are spread out. Based on the span and scope the network types can be :

  • LAN – Local Area Network
  • WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network
  • WAN – Wide Area Network
  • MAN – Metropolitan Area Network
  • SAN – Storage Area Network
  • CAN – Campus Area network
  • PAN – Personal Area Network
  • DAN – Desktop Area Network.

Of all these, LAN, WLAN, WAN and MAN is mostly used.

LAN – Local Area Network

  1. Local Area Network is a network type which is used to connect computer devices which are located within small geographical area like home , offices, schools and small group of buildings.
  2. The typical range of LAN is few hundred meters but not more than a mile.
  3. Data transfer rates in LAN are very high typically in the range of 0Mbps to 10Gbps
  4. Cost of setting up and maintaining LAN network is low as compared to other types of network.
  5. LANs can be either wired or wireless. For wired connection, twisted pair or coaxial cable or fiber optic can be used.
  6. IEEE defines standards for LAN in IEEE 802. Ethernet or IEEE 802.3 is one of those.
  7. Nodes in LAN can be organized as Bus, Ring and Star.
Bus Network Types - Topology

Bus Topology


MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

MAN Topology

  • MAN is a computer network type which usually spans a city or large campus. MAN networks lie in between LAN and WAN
  • MAN interconnects a number of LANs using high capacity backbone technology, for example fiber optic. MAN also provides up-link services to WAN and Internet

WAN (Wide Area Network)

WAN Topology

  • WAN is a network type which is used to describe network which spans regional , national or global area. For example, offices located at NewDelhi , Mumbai and New York are connected by WAN.
  • WANs are connected using Leased Line, Dialup connection, Packet Switching and Cell Relay
  • WANs are also used to connect LANs located at different locations.
  • Transmission rated in WANs usually range from 1200 bits/sec to 24 Mbps. With connections like ATM and Leased Lines, the transmission rate can be reached greater than 156 Mbps

CAN (Campus Area Network)

  • CAN is network type which is made up by interconnecting LANs within limited geographical area.
  • In CAN, the campus tenant/owner owns the CAN networking infrastructure. These include networking equipments (switched, routers) and transmission  media (copper wires, optical fiber etc.)
  • Example of CAN implementations are : Stanford University’s SUNet Network, amd MIT’s Project Athena.

This completes our short introduction to Network types based on geographical span.

Related article:

  1. Transmission Technology Types