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How Does a Computer Network Work

The first computer network was set up by ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), known as ARPANET in the late 1960s. It is an interconnection of many computers with the help of some network components. There are many types of networks, classified as per the geographical location of the computers and the components. The type of connection used for connecting the computers and the components used, decides the type of the computer network.

Network Components

  • Network Interface Cards (NIC)
  • Hubs
  • Bridges
  • Repeaters
  • Switches

Types of Computer Networking

Geographical Location

LAN (Local Area Network)

A local area network (LAN) has computers interconnected along with some other resources, like printers, modems, floppy disks, and hard disks. LAN is restricted to a building or an office or can be a residential network connecting the computers and resources to each other. With the help of LAN, the above stated resources can be accessed and shared by all the computers in the network. The computer that manages and offers these resources is called a server computer.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

The metropolitan area network is spread over an area with a diameter varying from 5 to 50 km. MAN is not owned by a single organization, instead it is an interconnection of many LANs. It has many applications and can form many networks, like the banking, military, stock brokers, and airline reservation network. All these require a lease line that is to be taken from a telephone company. The speed of the data line varies from 2 Mbps to 600 Mbps. Some MAN networks support the Internet Protocol (IP) and are called Network Service Providers (NSP). The network service provider is the backbone of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) as it connects all the ISPs. Usually, the Internet is accessed from an Internet service provider.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

The wide area network connects all the metropolitan area networks (MAN). The wide area network is a larger version of the local area network (LAN). Internet is an example of the wide area network.

GAN (Global Area Network)

The global area network comprises all the wireless LANs and satellite communication. The example of global area network is broadband global area network (BGAN) which connects all the broadband wireless voice and data communication on the earth.

Connection Types

Wired Network

Twisted pair wires, coaxial cables, and fiber optic cables are used to connect the computers and other network components together. Twisted pair wire is a telephone wire, which is used to connect the computers. Coaxial cables are the wires of the cable TV network used to connect the Internet and, in turn, to the computer network. In fiber optic technology, voice and data is transmitted in the form of light.

Wireless Network

The wireless computer network uses the wireless technologies, like satellite communication, wireless LAN and bluetooth. The satellite uses microwaves to communicate the data and information over the network. Wireless LAN requires a router and a network adapter.

These were the types of computer networks, and their working depends on the size of the network and the type of connection used.