What is Computer Network? Definition, Types, and Advantages

What is Computer Network?

The interconnection of two or more computers to share resources or two computers is said to be interconnected if they are capable of exchanging information. In other words, the network which connects two or more computers in a network this type of network is called a computer network or computer networking.

In connection computer shares information with each other. Some advantages of computer networking are:

  • Resource sharing
  • Reliability
  • Good communication access
  • Remote database access
  • Cost factor

Resource Sharing

All the available resources such as files, printers, scanners, etc. can be shared by all the users on the network irrespective of the physical between the resource and the user.


Reliability is also of major importance in a computer network. Where a file can have copies of the same message on two or more computers so one of them is unavailable due to some reason, other copies can be used.

Good Communication Access

Using a computer network, it is possible and easy for two or more people who live far apart to write a report together. When one makes changes to a document the other can notice immediately instead of waiting a day or more.

Remote Database Access

It is easy for the average person sitting at his PC to make a reservation for airlines, trains, hotels, etc. anywhere in the world with instant confirmation.

Cost Factor

PC is a cost factor because it makes work easy, and fast and saves time, and decreases cost.

Types of Computer Network

Generally, the computer networks are categorized into two types:

  • On the basis of the geographical distance
  • And, on the basis of architecture

On the basis of Geographical Distance

  • Local area network (LAN): up to 1 KM
  • Metropolitan area network (MAN): up to 10 KM
  • Wide area network (WAN): above 10 KM
  • Personal area network (PAN): up to 10 KM
  • Geographical area network (GAN): above 1000o KM
  • College/ campus area network (CAN): up to 2 KM

Local Area Network (LAN)

A local area network (LAN) is a network that is restricted to smaller physical areas e.g. a local office, school, or house.

Approximately all current LANs whether wired or wireless are based on ethernet. On a LAN data transfer speeds are higher than WAN and MAN which can extend to 10.0 Mbps (Ethernet network) and 1.0 Gbps (Gigabit Ethernet).

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that connects two or more computers, communicating devices, or networks in a single network that has a geographical area larger than LAN and smaller than WAN.

MANs are mostly built for cities or towns to provide a high data connection and are usually owned by a single organization.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A wide area network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a relatively large geographical area such as a state, province, or country.

WAN is made up of two or more local area networks (LANs) or metropolitan area networks (MANs) that are interconnected with each other.

10 differences between a local area network (LAN) and a wide area network (WAN):

Local area network (LAN)Wide area network (WAN)
It stands for LAN.It stands for WAN.
Owned by private.Owned by the public.
Private network.Public network.
LAN covers distances up to 1 KM. WAN covers the distance above 10 KM.
It is a very fast network than WAN.Similarly, it is slower than LAN.
Also, it has fewer errors.It has more errors.
Similarly, it is more highly secure than WAN.It is less secure than LAN.
Transmission medium used pair cable, coaxial cable, and optical fiber.The transmission medium used microwave and satellite communication.
Guided medium.Unguided medium.
Low cost.High cost than LAN.

On the basis of Architecture or Configuration

Peer-to-Peer Network

Peer-to-peer network refers to small communication of a network where all connected devices are own self-client and server i.e. no dedicated server.

Also, peer to peer network is a good choice for an environment. And there are 10 or fewer user share resources.

Client-Server Network

A client-server network refers to large communication of network where more than 10 users are connected with the help of a dedicated server. Where a client makes a request to the server and the server gives the response. It works on the request-reply principle.

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