A computer network is a group of desktops, laptops, and handheld devices connected to each other and can “talk” to each other. Some basic types of computer networks include:
Personal Area Network
A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network used for communication between computer and devices close to one person. Some examples of devices that are used in a PAN are personal computers, printers, fax machines, telephones, PDAs, scanners, and video game consoles. PAN includes:
- Wired – A wired PAN is typically built with USB and Firewire connections
- Wireless – A wireless PAN is typically connected via Bluetooth and infrared communication
Home Area Network
A home area network (HAN) is a residential LAN which is used for communication between all computers, printers, mobile, and digital devices used in entire home. An important function is the sharing of Internet access, often a broadband service through a cable TV or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) provider.
Local Area Network
A local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in within geographical area such as home, school, computer laboratory, office building, or closely positioned group of buildings. Wired LANs are usually to be based on Ethernet technology. There is a new technology to create a wired LAN using existing wire (coaxial cables, phone lines and power lines).
Virtual Private Network
A VPN is a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. The VPN uses “virtual” connections routed through the Internet from the business’s private network to the remote site or employee. VPN is an inexpensive, efficient, and secure way of connecting offices and users together.
Other types of networks:
- Wide Area network
- Enterprise Private Network
- Storage Area Network
- Campus Area Network
- Metropolitan Area Network
Microsoft Windows, Linux and most other operating systems use TCP/IP for networking. Apple Macintosh computers used Appletalk in the past, but it uses TCP/IP now.
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Virtual Private Network (VPN) Diagram