A network refers to a collection of interconnected nodes or entities that communicate and exchange information with each other. In the context of technology, a network typically refers to a system of computers, devices, or servers connected to each other for the purpose of communication and data sharing.
There are several types of networks, including:
- Local Area Network (LAN): A LAN is a network that covers a small geographical area, such as an office building or a home. It typically connects devices like computers, printers, and servers within a limited area.
- Wide Area Network (WAN): A WAN is a network that covers a larger geographical area, such as a city, country, or even the entire world. It connects multiple LANs or other WANs and is often used by organizations with multiple locations.
- Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A MAN is a network that covers a larger area than a LAN but smaller than a WAN, typically spanning a city or metropolitan area. It is used to connect multiple LANs in a city or urban area.
- Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN or Wi-Fi): A WLAN is a type of LAN that uses wireless technology, such as radio waves or infrared signals, to connect devices without the need for physical cables.
- Internet: The Internet is a global network that connects millions of devices worldwide, including computers, servers, routers, and switches. It is the largest and most well-known WAN, used for communication, data sharing, and accessing online resources.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN is a secure network that uses encryption and other security measures to provide private communication over a public network, such as the Internet. It is commonly used for remote access to corporate networks or for enhancing security and privacy online.
- Cloud Network: A cloud network is a type of virtualized network that is hosted and managed by a cloud service provider. It allows organizations to access computing resources, storage, and services over the Internet without having to build and manage their own physical network infrastructure.
These are some of the common types of networks. There are other specialized networks as well, such as storage area networks (SANs), campus area networks (CANs), and home area networks (HANs), which cater to specific requirements and use cases.