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Published by: sangeetaratan19894026 on Dec 12, 2008
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What is (Wireless / Computer) Networking?
In the world of computers,
is the practice of linking two or morecomputing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software.
 Networks can be categorized in several different ways. One approach defines the type of network according to the geographic area it spans.Local area networks (LANs), for example, typicallyreach across a single home, whereaswide area networks (WANs),reach across cities, states, or  even across the world. TheInternetis the world's largest public WAN.
Computer networks also differ in their design. The two types of high-level network design arecalledclient-server and peer-to-peer . Client-server networks feature centralized server computers that store email, Web pages, files and or applications. On a peer-to-peer network, conversely, allcomputers tend to support the same functions. Client-server networks are much more common in business and peer-to-peer networks much more common in homes.Anetwork topologyrepresents its layout or structure from the point of view of data flow. In so-called bus networks, for example, all of the computers share and communicate across one common conduit, whereas in astar  network, all data flows through one centralized device. Common types of network topologies include bus, star,ringandmesh. 
In networking, the communication language used by computer devices is called the protocol. Yetanother way to classify computer networks is by the set of protocols they support. Networksoften implement multiple protocols to support specific applications. Popular protocols includeTCP/IP, the most common protocol found on the Internet and in home networks.
Many of the same network protocols, like TCP/IP, work in both
networks. Networks withEthernetcables predominated in businesses, schools, and homes for severaldecades. Recently, however, wireless networking alternatives have emerged as the premier technology for building new computer networks.
Introduction to Network Types
LAN, WAN and Other Area Networks
One way to categorize the different types of computer network designs is by their scope or scale. For historical reasons, the networking industry refers to nearly every type of design assome kind of 
area network 
. Common examples of area network types are:
LAN - Local Area Network 
WLAN - Wireless Local Area Network 
WAN - Wide Area Network 
MAN - Metropolitan Area Network 
SAN - Storage Area Network, System Area Network, Server Area Network, or sometimes Small Area Network 
CAN - Campus Area Network, Controller Area Network, or sometimes Cluster Area Network 
PAN - Personal Area Network 
DAN - Desk Area Network LAN and WAN were the original categories of area networks, while the others have graduallyemerged over many years of technology evolution. Note that these network types are a separate concept from network topologies such as bus, ringand star.See also -Introduction to Network Topologies 
LAN - Local Area Network 
connects network devices over a relatively short distance. A networked office building,school, or home usually contains a single LAN, though sometimes one building will contain afew small LANs (perhaps one per room), and occasionally a LAN will span a group of nearby buildings. InTCP/IPnetworking, a LAN is often but not always implemented as a single IPsubnet.In addition to operating in a limited space, LANs are also typically owned, controlled, andmanaged by a single person or organization. They also tend to use certain connectivitytechnologies, primarilyEthernetand Token Ring.
WAN - Wide Area Network 
As the term implies, a
spans a large physical distance. The Internet is the largest WAN,spanning the Earth.A WAN is a geographically-dispersed collection of LANs. A network device called arouter connects LANs to a WAN. In IP networking, the router maintains both a LAN address and aWAN address.A WAN differs from a LAN in several important ways. Most WANs (like the Internet) are notowned by any one organization but rather exist under collective or distributed ownership andmanagement. WANs tend to use technology likeATM,Frame RelayandX.25for connectivity over the longer distances.
LAN, WAN and Home Networking
Residences typically employ one LAN and connect to the Internet WAN via anInternet ServiceProvider (ISP)using a broadband modem. The ISP provides a WANIP addressto the modem, and all of the computers on the home network use LAN (so-called
) IP addresses. Allcomputers on the home LAN can communicate directly with each other but must go through acentral gateway, typically a broadband router , to reach the ISP.
Other Types of Area Networks
While LAN and WAN are by far the most popular network types mentioned, you may alsocommonly see references to these others:
Wireless Local Area Network 
- a LAN based onWiFi wireless network technology
Metropolitan Area Network 
- a network spanning a physical area larger than aLAN but smaller than a WAN, such as a city. A MAN is typically owned an operated by a single entity such as a government body or large corporation.
Campus Area Network 
- a network spanning multiple LANs but smaller than aMAN, such as on a university or local business campus.
Storage Area Network 
- connects servers to data storage devices through atechnology likeFibre Channel.
System Area Network 
- links high-performance computers with high-speedconnections in a cluster configuration. Also known as Cluster Area Network.
Topology in Network Design

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