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Introduction to Network Types: LAN, WAN, PAN, CAN, MAN, SAN, WLAN

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Introduction to network types

A network can be defined as a group of two or more computers that are connected together in order to share data or resources. There are many different types of networks, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of networks are Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), Personal Area Networks (PANs), Campus Area Networks (CANs), Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), Storage Area Networks (SANs) and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs).

Local Area Network (LAN)

A local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and other devices in a limited geographical area such as a home, office, or small group of buildings. A LAN may be wired, wireless, or a combination of the two.

Wired LANs are commonly built using Ethernet technology. Common Ethernet standards include Fast Ethernet (100 megabits per second) and Gigabit Ethernet (1 gigabit per second). Wireless LANs use wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi (802.11), Bluetooth, and infrared to communicate without wires.

A key advantage of LANs is that they allow for very high speeds of data transfer compared to other network types. For example, Gigabit Ethernet can transfer data at up to 1 Gbps (gigabits per second), while the fastest broadband Internet connection is only about 50 Mbps (megabits per second).

Another advantage of LANs is that they are relatively easy to set up and manage. For example, most home networking routers come with built-in support for common LAN technologies such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A WAN is a network that spans a large geographical area, such as a city, a state, or even a country. A WAN is typically made up of multiple smaller networks, called LANs.

A WAN can be used to connect devices in different locations so that they can communicate with each other. For example, you could use a WAN to connect your home computer to a computer in another city.

WANs can be either public or private. A public WAN is one that anyone can use, such as the Internet. A private WAN is one that is only available to certain people, such as a company’s internal network.

WANs are often used to connect LANs together. This allows people in different locations to share resources, such as files and printers.

Personal Area Network (PAN)

A PAN is a computer network organized around an individual person, typically in their home or small office. A PAN typically consists of multiple devices including a desktop or laptop computer, a printer, and a wireless router. A PAN may also include additional devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or gaming console.

Campus Area Network (CAN)

A Campus Area Network (CAN) is a computer network made up of multiple interconnected local area networks (LANs) that cover a limited geographical area, such as a university campus, office building, or factory complex.

A CAN is typically owned and operated by a single organization, such as a company or educational institution. It is usually designed to support communication and resource sharing among users within the same organization.

A CAN can be implemented using a variety of technologies, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and optical fiber. It is often used to connect buildings or campus-wide locations that are too far apart to be connected using a single LAN.

If you need to connect multiple LANs in a small geographical area, a Campus Area Network may be the right solution for you.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that covers a metropolitan area. A MAN usually spans multiple cities and can be as large as a state or country. A MAN is often used by businesses and organizations to connect multiple locations together.

A MAN can be created using different technologies, including fiber optic cables, microwave links, and satellite dishes. The most common type of MAN is a fiber optic network, which uses light to transmit data. Fiber optic networks are typically faster and more reliable than other types of MANs.

Another type of MAN is a wireless network, which uses radio waves to transmit data. Wireless networks are typically less expensive to build than other types of MANs, but they can be less reliable.

Storage Area Network (SAN)

A storage area network (SAN) is a high-speed special-purpose network (or subnetwork) that provides block-level data storage and retrieval services. A SAN typically consists of a storage controller (which may be a Fibre Channel router, an iSCSI target, or a SCSI target), one or more storage devices, and host bus adapters (HBAs) connected to servers.

A SAN may be used to store and manage data, applications, and files. A SAN can improve the performance of applications and reduce the amount of physical space required for data storage. A SAN can also provide redundancy and improve availability by using multiple storage devices.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

A WLAN is a local area network that is implemented without the use of wires. WLANs are often used in homes and small businesses, where it may be difficult or impractical to lay down wired Ethernet cables. Instead, WLANS rely on radio signals to communicate between devices.

One advantage of WLANs is that they are much easier to install than wired LANs. All you need is a wireless router and some access points, and you can be up and running in no time. Additionally, WLANs are more flexible than wired LANs, since there are no physical constraints on where you can put your devices.

Another advantage of WLANs is that they offer more mobility than wired LANs. With a WLAN, you can take your laptop or other mobile device anywhere within range of the network and still be able to connect to the Internet or your company’s network. This can be extremely convenient for business travelers or students who need to access their networks from different locations.

There are a few disadvantages of WLANs to keep in mind as well. One is that they can be less secure than wired LANs, since anyone within range of the network can potentially eavesdrop on your communications. Additionally


As you can see, there are many different types of networks to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The type of network you choose will ultimately depend on your specific needs and requirements. If you need a high-speed network for gaming or other multimedia applications, then a LAN would be the best option. On the other hand, if you need a network that covers a large area such as an office building or campus, then a WAN would be more suitable. No matter what your needs are, there is definitely a type of network that will suit them perfectly. ###

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