Types of Computer Networks

Types of Networks

The world of computers is made up of computers and other networking devices interconnected together with wires while others are interconnected wirelessly to form what we call a network. A computer network is an interconnection of two or more computers in order to share data and peripherals. We have a number of network designs but the 3 main common network types are:-

  1. Local Area network (LAN)
  2. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  3. Wide Area Network (WAN)

Local Area Network (LAN)

A Local Area Network is a network type comprising of a group of computers and other systems located reasonably close to one another within a given area in such a way that users communicate and share resources for instance within a college, Cyber Cafe' or an office. A LAN connects computers and network devices over a relatively short distance.

A Local Area Network uses TCP/IP network protocol for communication between computers and other connected peripherals. LANs are the basis of all other types of networks. So if you connect two or more computers in an office, the end result will be a Local Area Network.

A Local Area Network

A Simple Local Area Network
A Simple Local Area Network | Source

Advantages of a Local Area Network

  1. Easy to troubleshoot - this is because a LAN does not cover a large area and it is not complicated.
  2. Cheap to install and monitor - the devices involved for coming up with this network are not expensive.
  3. More secure - because it is usually a small network, it is possible to maintain security.
  4. Less vulnerable to attenuation - attenuation is the gradual loss of signal strength as the signal tends to travel far from the point of origin. In this type of network, because the computers are situated within a small geographical area, the signals are less prone to attenuation.
  5. It experiences low error rates

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

This is a network that covers an entire city or town. This type of network usually makes use of wireless infrastructure or optical fiber connections to link sites. It can be created by connecting several LANs together. For example, it can be a network covering all the police stations in a big city, local government authorities, a college with a number of branches can also interlink their LANs and come up with a Metropolitan Area Network.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Metropolitan Area Network


  1. It enhances easier communication
  2. It offers a faster passage of data.


  • It is expensive to install and maintain.
  • It is susceptible to tapping.
  • It is susceptible to attenuation (Attenuation is the gradual loss of signal strength as data flows further from the point of origin).
  • It has high error rates.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

It’s a type of network design that connects computers across a large geographical area of a city, region and even spans beyond country boundaries. It consists of several sections of LAN’s and MAN’s connected together by devices such as routers.

A WAN transmits information by telephone lines, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital network) lines, Radio waves, or satellite Microwave. The Internet is the best example of the largest Wide area network as it covers the whole world.


So the moment you connect two or more computers located reasonably close to one another, you will be creating a LAN. Even when you are to create a MAN or a WAN, you will have to start with a Local Area Network.

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Patkay 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks dilipchandra12 for going through my hub and commenting, i hope to keep people informed.

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dilipchandra12 5 years ago from India

Brief reference on Types of Networks, well written. thanks for sharing.

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