What Is a Network? What Is the Purpose of a Network?

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What Is a Network? – A network is the means by which two or more computers can communicate with one another in order to share resources, files, or even an internet connection. While the majority of homes and businesses have networks in place to connect their computers in some way, users can choose from four distinct types of networks.

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What Is the Meaning of the Term “Network”?

A network can be defined in a fairly broad sense. At its most basic level, it always involves the connection of two or more computers, either physically via cables or wirelessly via a Wi-Fi connection. By connecting these computers, they can share their resources, files, and internet connection without having to manually connect each time.

When it comes to size, networks can become significantly more complex. A family home, for example, may have a network comprised of two personal computers and a Wi-Fi connection (which the family uses for various additional devices such as a smart TV, streaming box, smartphones, etc.). However, an office building may have a large network that is physically connected to thousands of computers via Ethernet cables. Certain networks are even capable of expanding to cover large geographic areas.

Additionally, there are four distinct types of networks, and it is critical to understand the distinctions between them.

What Are the Four Network Types?

Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) are the two most common types of networks (WAN). The other two primary network types are Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs), with Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWANs) being an offshoot of the same principle. Here is a brief description of each of the four major network types.

The Local Area Network (LAN). A Local Area Network, the most common type of network you’ll encounter, connects computers in a relatively small area. This area could be your home, an office, or a school, for example. The devices can communicate via Ethernet cable or wirelessly.
Wireless Local Area Network. This network type covers a large geographic area, such as a city, state, or country. The internet is considered the world’s largest Wide Area Network, with Wide Area Networks allowing for the connection of smaller Local Area Networks. Additionally, businesses may have a Wide Area Network to connect their numerous offices.
Network of Metropolitan Areas A Metropolitan Area Network is larger than a Local Area Network but smaller than a Wide Area Network. It is used by large corporations and government entities to connect disparate resources within a business.
LAN wireless. A wireless LAN operates similarly to a wired LAN, except that it does so via wireless connections such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth rather than Ethernet cables.

What Is the Purpose of a Network?

Most likely, the only network you’ll encounter on a daily basis is your home network, also known as a Local Area Network (LAN). Not every household requires a home network. There is no need for a network if you only have one computer and no other devices that you wish to connect to the Internet or share resources with.

However, the majority of people now have their own LAN setup at home, which is connected to multiple devices. It’s critical to understand whether a wired or wireless network or a combination of both, is best for your home, as well as how to set up a home network.

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