A computer network is the interconnection of computing devices in order to share data and is built with a combination of computer hardware and software WikiAnswers- Unknown author. Computer networks are used to connect multiple computers to an internet connection, or to printers, scanners, etc in the same area that the network covers. There are many types of networks that are classified using several different characteristics of each network. This report will discuss some of the characteristics that are used to classify the network, such as the connection method of the computer network, types of networks as determined by their size, scope, and purpose, as well as some of the basic hardware that is used to create a computer network.
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There are two basic connection methods: wired connection and wireless connection. Each type of wired connection is classified by which type of wiring it uses to create the network. Generally wireless connections are classified by the type of network they create (we will be discussing these later), since they don’t use any wiring and therefore couldn’t be classified by the different types of wiring.
ITU-U G.hn. ITU-T G.hn technology creates a high-speed wired local area connection (LAN), which we will discuss later, by using existing home wiring. The types of wiring that an ITU-T G.hn connection may use include:
Phone lines are the most commonly used standard for both voice and data (network) communication. They are made of twisted-pair wire and provide a slower connection than coaxial cables as their transmission speed ranges from 2 million to 100 million bits per second.
Computer networks created using an existing power line may also be known as a broadband connection or “Broadband over power lines” (BPL) or power-line internet and offer about the same speed as a connection through a phone line.
Coaxial Cables are the most popularly used wire for cable television systems, as well as in office buildings, homes, etc for creating wired local area networks (LANs). Coaxial cables create a significantly faster network connection than phone or power lines as they can transmit anywhere from 200 million to over 500 million bits per second.
Optical Fiber. Networks created using optical fiber wiring- wiring that contains glass or plastic fibers that transmit light (Wikipedia) are significantly faster than any of the three options used in ITU-T G.hn technology. Optical fiber networks are as much as hundreds of times faster than coaxial cable networks and thousands of times faster than twisted-pair wire networks.
Wireless LAN. A wireless area network (LAN) links devices without wires and uses either radio waves or infrared signals to transmit information. Wireless LANs are swiftly gaining in popularity as these networks can be installed easily and enable the user to move around the area in which the network was installed (home, coffee shop, etc) and remain connected to the internet, which is particularly handy if you own a laptop or wireless printer.
Types of Networks
There are very many types of computer networks that are classified by the purpose they serve; for example, if it is for personal or academic use; the size/span of the network, or even the types of devices it connects. In this report we will be discussing the following:
Personal Area Network (PAN)
Local Area Network (LAN)
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
Campus Area Network (CAN)
Wide Area Network (WAN)
Personal Area Network (PAN). A PAN is a computer network used to connect devices that are close to someone’s person. Examples of devices on a PAN network include: personal computers, wireless printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video game controllers, cell phones, etc. PANs can only connect devices within a very small radius; approximately 20- 30 feet and may be both a wired or wireless connection.
Local Area Connection (LAN). A LAN may be either wired or wireless and is a computer network that covers a fairly small area, such as a home, office, or small group of buildings, such as a library or airport. A higher data transfer rate and smaller physical area of coverage sets a LAN apart from all other computer networks.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). MANs connect two or more local area networks or campus area networks by connecting routers, switches and hubs (will be defined in hardware section), within the area of a single town or city.
Campus Area Network (CAN). A CAN is a connection of LANs within a limited area such as a public school or college campus. This type of network often links academic buildings, the university/school library, or student dorms. It is similar to a MAN because it connects multiple LANs but the difference is that a CAN is usually smaller than a MAN and is specific to an academic setting.
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Wide Area Network (WAN). A WAN is a network that covers a broad area; any network that crosses, metropolitan, regional or national boundaries is considered a WAN. A WAN operates by connecting multiple routers and public communications links, such as telephone lines. The most commonly known WAN is the internet, which most of the other computer networks also connect to.
“Computer hardware is any part of the computer that you can physically touch with your hand” (Hanney 1) and it is no different for network hardware. All of the items that will be described in the next few paragraphs are a few of the most basic building blocks of networks. These pieces of equipment are connected either wirelessly or by wires to create a successful computer network.
Repeaters. A repeater is an electronic device that receives a signal from a network, regenerates it and retransmits it at a higher power level to the other side of an obstacle. A repeater enables a signal to cover long distances without fading or corrupting.
Hubs. A hub connects multiple computers to a network; it works by duplicating incoming data and making it available to all of the computers on the network.
Bridges. A bridge connects one local area network (LAN) to another LAN. A bridge also determines whether a message from one computer to another is going to a computer within the same LAN network or to a different LAN network that the bridge interconnects. There are three main types of bridges:
Local bridges: Directly connect LANs
Remote bridges: Used to create a WAN between LANs
Wireless bridges: Used to connect LANs wirelessly, can also create WANs.
As you can see, there are many different types of computer networks in the world today. The options range from wired to wireless, to a network that only extends to a 20-30 foot radius to a network that could span across an entire nation. Networks enable you to print an essay when you’re in a completely different room from your printer, or to email a friend or family member in another state. The technology we have today is truly amazing and will only continue to grow and connect people from all over the world. So next time you e-mail a long-lost friend who is miles away you can thank computer networking for making it possible.
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