Learn to work with a variety of computer networks

Thursday, January 11, 2024


Did you know there are seven different types of computer networks? Read on to learn how they are used and the devices they work with.

High-tech devices and networks are now available in our palms on the various devices we use everyday. Computer networks are no longer limited to computer-savvy individuals, which means the industry needs more professionals who can manage the variety of networks and hardware for everyday use. 

A computer network is often referred to as an internet network and is simply the connection between two or more computers used to share files, resources and communication. 

Widespread computer networks have changed the way the world works and benefit us all in a variety of ways, including: 
  • Making communication across the globe or down the street simple with video call, email, instant messaging and social networks. 
  • Linking devices, including printers and scanners, files, software and operating systems across remote systems. 
  • Easy access of shared information for all network users. 
What are the different types of computer networks and what are their characteristics? 
Remember, a computer network is a connection between two or more devices with the purpose of sharing information and there are a variety of ways to connect. Each computer network has unique characteristics including the number of devices linked, the location and the distance between them. 

1. Personal Area Network (PAN) 
Commonly called a Bluetooth connection, the PAN network is the smallest of the networks and is used to cover a small area such as a room or building. A PAN is used to connect computers, smartphones, smartwatches, headphones, etc. within a small group. So when you listen to music in your car, play your portable speaker or pair your headphones to your cell phone, you’ve just used a PAN. 

2. Local Area Network (LAN) 
A Local Area Network (LAN) connects a group of devices in a single area and is a very common network to work with. For example, a LAN can connect a group of devices throughout a building or buildings within a set area either with cables or wireless. It’s common to find LAN networks in office buildings and apartment complexes. 

3. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) 
A great example of a WLAN is a WiFi network, as a WLAN is a LAN that does not use any sort of cables within the network. As you know, WiFi networks, and therefore all WLANs, are used throughout buildings, stadiums, parks and just about anywhere people prefer to use a wireless connection. 

4. Wide Area Network (WAN) 
A WAN works similarly to a LAN, except it can connect devices over a large area, sometimes miles away. The internet itself is a great example of a WAN network, as is an internal university network you’ll use to sign in and turn in documents. Usually, a WAN requires management by multiple administrators to keep it running and secure. 

5. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) 
A MAN incorporates parts of LANs and WANs and even has the ability to connect LANs across cities, campuses or other geographic areas. These kinds of networks are smaller than a WAN while larger than a LAN and are usually managed by a single large company. 

6. Storage Area Network (SAN) 
SANs are used to transfer large data and complex resources from a LAN to a separate network for high performance. They simplify storage and data retrieval while freeing up space to improve the performance of the source LAN. 

7. Virtual Private Network (VPN) 
You are probably familiar with VPNs as they are commonly used to improve privacy and security in everyday life and in business. A VPN encrypts your data and hides your identity by acting as an intermediary between you and the network. Everyone should be using VPNs to send private information and it is recommended by cybersecurity experts that you use a VPN anytime you connect to a public WiFi network. 

Protect and work with computer networks with a cyber security degree from USD 

As someone who is clearly interested in computer networks, a degree in the field of cyber security may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you are interested in gaining practical experience in protecting and leading cyber defense efforts, check out our 100% online degrees in cyber security for students in India: 

  • Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering: This program is ideal for those who want to work hands-on with data defense and protecting organizations against cyber criminals. This technical degree exposes you to all of the in-demand tools used by cyber professionals and has even been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the U.S. federal government. 
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership: Our MS CSOL program is meant for students who want to lead cyber security efforts. Distinct from the engineering-focused MS CSE program, this degree empowers you with critical leadership and organizational skills unique to leading cybersecurity efforts in businesses and government. If you have a natural aptitude for leadership and want to move out of a technical role, this is a great option for you. 
Apply for either of these programs today, and if you’d like to find out more information please get in touch with our knowledgeable academic advisors.