A computer network is established when a series of computers is connected to each other for communication. The purpose of this connection or network is to share the resources within the connected units.
Computer Network Technologies
Computer networks are established using different software and hardware technologies. Computer networks can be established using different hardware structures such as Ethernet, optical fiber or merely using wireless connections. Ethernet network is the most common and widely used technology to establish any computer network. The network based on the use of Ethernet network is formed by physically connecting the individual computer units to each other through wiring. Various types of devices used for the Ethernet network are switches, bridges, routers and hubs mostly. Ethernet network can be started with the help of employing different types of cables such as twisted pair wire, coaxial cable and fiber optics mostly.
Wireless networks are established without physical welding or wiring techniques involved. Wireless technology is based on use of radio and infrared signals. However if you look at the wireless technologies, there are many wireless communication technologies available. Wireless communication can be established through communication satellites, terrestrial microwaves, cellular systems, wireless LANs and Bluetooth. The recent development and ease of using wireless technologies have almost surpassed the use of Ethernet. However still the advantages and economy associated with the physical networks can not be neglected fully. Networks can be established using many types of physical interconnections usually referred to as the network topologies. Network topologies can be of many different types depending on the need of the network to be constituted.
Types of Computer Networks
Computer networks are of many different types such as Personal area network (PAN), Local area network (LAN), Metropolitan area network (MAN), Campus area network (CAN), Storage area network (SAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN). The computer networks which are designed for personal use are known as PAN or personal area networks. A PAN network is typically on an area of 20 to 30 feet. When we need the facility of network to be used on a really small commercial area or in small computer labs, we prefer LAN. LANs are capable of higher data transfer within small geographical area. LAN usually operates at a speed of Giga Bit. CAN is larger network than LAN. CAN is usually established in university campus to establish a connection among different computer labs, library, registration office and different academic units. MAN is usually a middle way to LAN and WAN. It is established by the various interconnections between WAN and LAN. Man is spread over an area of around 5 to almost 50 km. MAN has many applications , it is most commonly used in banks, online reservation systems and in many military based services. If we make a complex network of many LANs we will end up making a wide area network. Wide area network is commonly known as internet. The applications and availability of internet can be now seen in every building of commercial or other nature.
All of the above mentioned network connections can be established using wireless or wired communication. Computer networks are of many uses. First and the foremost advantage are the file and data sharing. Other than that the other purposes that it serves are increased storage of data, more data sharing and cost efficiency. The ease of establishing networks allows you to download complex and expensive software in no time and with convenience. However initially when you make up a computer network it requires an extensive network of wires. Establishing a network earlier would involve a hefty budget in order to make a backup main file server. Thus networks have removed the troubles of communication thus narrowing the communication gap throughout the world.