Different Type of Networks – LAN, WAN, MAN, CAN

a network

From this article you are going to gain knowledge about building a network on your own any where. Networks are broadly classified on the basis of different criteria. Let it be an either two-way connection or multi-networked connections, networks and types of networks play an obligatory and featured role in networking. Basically networks are classified in four basic and different role models.


let us talk about these networks in brief:-

1.Local Area Network (LAN)

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building using network media. The defining characteristics of LANs, in contrast to wide area networks (WANs), include their usually higher data-transfer rates, smaller geographic area, and lack of a need for leased telecommunication lines.

ARCNET, Token Ring and other technology standards have been used in the past, but Ethernet over twisted pair cabling, and Wi-Fi are the two most common technologies currently used to build LANs.

2.Wide Area Network(WAN)

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunication network that covers a broad area (i.e., any network that links across metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries). Business and government entities utilize WANs to relay data among employees, clients, buyers, and suppliers from various geographical locations. In essence this mode of telecommunication allows a business to effectively carry out its daily function regardless of location

3.Metropolitan Area Network(MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that usually spans a city or a large campus. A MAN usually interconnects a number of local area networks (LANs) using a high-capacity backbone technology, such as fiber-optical links, and provides up-link services to wide area networks (or WAN) and the Internet.

The IEEE 802-2002 standard describes a MAN as being:

A MAN is optimized for a larger geographical area than a LAN, ranging from several blocks of buildings to entire cities. MANs can also depend on communications channels of moderate-to-high data rates. A MAN might be owned and operated by a single organization, but it usually will be used by many individuals and organizations. MANs might also be owned and operated as public utilities. They will often provide means for internetworking of local networks.

Authors Kenneth C. Laudon and Jane P. Laudon (2001) of Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm 10th ed. define a metropolitan area network as:

A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a large computer network that spans a metropolitan area or campus. Its geographic scope falls between a WAN and LAN. MANs provide Internet connectivity for LANs in a metropolitan region, and connect them to wider area networks like the Internet.

4.Campus Area Network(CAN)

A campus network, campus area network, corporate area network or CAN is a computer network made up of an interconnection of local area networks (LANs) within a limited geographical area. The networking equipments (switches, routers) and transmission media (optical fiber, copper plant, Cat5 cabling etc.) are almost entirely owned by the campus tenant / owner: an enterprise, university, government etc.[

  • In today’s world the entire communication media is based on networking.
    Not necessary that these media are based only on the networks specified above, but there is lot more different modes of communication.
    Some of these examples consists of GPS (Global Positioning system), MMS (Multimedia message sending), Satellite system for live communication etc. LAN and WAN are major categories of the networks. The other emerged as the needs and demands emerged.All these networks has the same work as that of connection between two or more nodes (computers). The difference is that their ways and connection types are not identical. Computer networks different in their basic designs. In higher level networking there are two types,
    1) Client-Server networking &
    2) Peer to peer networking
  • The Client-Server networking tends to have access of entire network connected either by LAN of by WAN. It has the privilege of storing the entire data, web pages, stuff, files and other application.
  •  On the contrary peer-to-peer networks tends to be functioned in an identical way. These types of networks are classified in different types of protocols, amongst which TCP/IP i.e (transmission control protocol/ internet protocol) plays an important role.

The Protocols consists of certain sets of rules and regulations on the basis of which the communication between two nodes take place. There are certain classes of IP addresses with the help of which the communication is possible.

This article is a part of a unique series to know about networking and building your own network at home. Check all posts in Learn Networking Series.

4 thoughts on “Different Type of Networks – LAN, WAN, MAN, CAN

  • August 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    The difference is that their ways and connection types are not identical. Computer networks different in their basic designs. In higher level networking there are two types,

    what crap does that mean..?

  • August 8, 2009 at 7:50 am

    WAN stands for Wide Area Network

  • June 26, 2009 at 3:11 am

    I dunno man, this article is not written that well, sorry…

  • March 31, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    WAN stands for Wide Area Network (thih is not wireless network), for Wireless networks is using WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.