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Types of Networks

A key tenet of network security is "know thy system". You cannot secure something that you do not understand or know how it works. In order to be proficient in network security, you have to understand the different types of networks since each network type poses different challenges, issues and risks. PAN (personal area network) A wireless PAN consists of a dynamic group of less than 255 devices that communicate within about a 33-foot range. Unlike with wireless LANs, only devices within this limited area typically participate in the network, and no online connection with external devices is defined. One device is selected to assume the role of the controller during wireless PAN initialization, and this controller device mediates communication within the WPAN. The controller broadcasts a beacon that lets all devices synchronize with each other and allocates time slots for the devices. Each device attempts to join the wireless PAN by requesting a time slot from the controller. The controller authenticates the devices and assigns time slots for each device to transmit data. The data may be sent to the entire wireless PAN using the wireless PAN destination address, or it may be directed to a particular device. The 802.15 working group is defining different versions for devices that have different requirements. 802.15.3 focuses on high-bandwidth (about 55M bit/sec), low-power MAC and physical layers, while 802.15.4 deals with low-bandwidth (about 250K bit/sec), extra-low power MAC and physical layers. LAN (local area network) A local area network (LAN) supplies networking capability to a group of computers in close proximity to each other such as in an office building, a school, or a home. A LAN is useful for sharing resources like files, printers, games or other applications. A LAN in turn often connects to other LANs, and to the Internet or other WAN. Most local area networks are built with relatively inexpensive hardware such as Ethernetcables, network adapters, and hubs. Wireless LAN and other more advanced LAN hardware options also exist. Specialized operating system software may be used to configure a local area network. For example, most flavors of Microsoft Windows provide a software

package called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)that supports controlled access to LAN resources. The term LAN party refers to a multiplayer gaming event where participants bring their own computers and build a temporary LAN. Examples: The most common type of local area network is an Ethernet LAN. The smallest home LAN can have exactly two computers; a large LAN can accommodate many thousands of computers. Many LANs are divided into logical groups called subnets. An Internet Protocol (IP) "Class A" LAN can in theory accommodate more than 16 million devices organized into subnets. HAN (Home Area Network) A HAN is a network within a home that connects a persons digital devices, from multiple computers and their peripheral devices to telephones, VCRs, televisions, video games, home security systems, "smart" appliances, fax machines and other digital devices that are wired into the network. Smart meters will allow consumers to create HANs with an in-home display to help them monitor and manage their energy use as well as remotely monitor and control thermostats and other electric appliances. The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. SAN (storage area network) A storage area network (SAN) is a type of local area network (LAN) designed to handle large data transfers. A SAN typically supports data storage, retrieval and replication on business networks using high-end servers, multiple disk arrays and Fibre Channel interconnection technology. SAN technology is similar but distinct from network attached storage (NAS) technology. While SANs traditionally employ low-level network protocols for transferring disk blocks, a NAS device typically works over TCP/IP and can be integrated fairly easily into home computer networks. The term SAN can sometimes refer to system area networks instead of a storage area network. System area networks are clusters of high performance computers used for distributed processing applications requiring fast local network performance. Storage area networks, on the other, are designed specifically for data management. CAN - Campus Area Network

A campus area network (CAN) is a computer network interconnecting a few local area networks (LANs) within a university campus or corporate campus. Campus area network may link a variety of campus buildings including departments, the university library and student halls of residence. A campus area network is larger than a local area network but smaller than a metropolitan area network (MAN) or wide area network (WAN). CAN can also stand for corporate area network. Backbone Network In computer networking, a backbone is a central conduit designed to transfer network traffic at high speeds. Network backbones are designed to maximize the reliability and performance of large-scale, long-distance data communications. The best known network backbones have been those used on the Internet. Backbones typically consist of network routers and switches connected by fiber optic orEthernet cables. Computers normally do not connect to a backbone directly. Instead, the networks of Internet service providers or large organizations connect to these backbones and computers access the backbone indirectly. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks) connect multiple geographically nearby LANs to one another (over an area of up to a few dozen kilometres) at high speeds. Thus, a MAN lets two remote nodes communicate as if they were part of the same local area network. A MAN is made from switches or routers connected to one another with highspeed links (usually fibre optic cables). A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is one of a number of types of networks (see also LAN and WAN). A MAN is a relatively new class of network, it serves a role similar to an ISP, but for corporate users with large LANs. There are three important features which discriminate MANs from LANs or WANs: 1. The network size falls intermediate between LANs and WANs. A MAN typically covers an area of between 5 and 50 km diameter. Many MANs cover an area the size of a city, although in some cases MANs may be as small as a group of buildings or as large as the North of Scotland. 2. A MAN (like a WAN) is not generally owned by a single organisation. The MAN, its communications links and equipment are generally owned by either a consortium of users or by a single network provider who sells the service to the users. This level of service provided to each user must

therefore be negotiated with the MAN operator, and some performance guarantees are normally specified. 3. A MAN often acts as a high speed network to allow sharing of regional resources (similar to a large LAN). It is also frequently used to provide a shared connection to other networks using a link to a WAN. WAN - Wide Area Network A WAN spans a large geographic area, such as a state, province or country. WANs often connect multiple smaller networks, such as local area networks (LANs) or metro area networks (MANs). The world's most popular WAN is the Internet. Some segments of the Internet, like VPN-based extranets, are also WANs in themselves. Finally, many WANs are corporate or research networks that utilize leased lines. WANs generally utilize different and much more expensive networking equipment than do LANs. Key technologies often found in WANs includeSONET, Frame Relay, and ATM. WANs operate using routers, which can "choose" the most appropriate path for data to take to reach a network node. ENTERPRISE PRIVATE NETWORK An enterprise private network is a computer network that helps enterprise companies with a number of disparate offices connect those offices to each in a secure way over a network. An enterprise private network is mainly set up to share computer resources. In the U.S., private networks were started in the early 1970s by AT&T. The networks were mainly operated over telecommunications networks. During 1990s as Internet technology evolved, a new type of network called virtual private networks originated. This type of network was built over public infrastructure, and the data was encrypted to protect it from eavesdroppers. Nowadays, networks built by companies are still called enterprise private networks when privacy is maintained through security procedures and tunneling protocols like Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. Some of the advantages of an enterprise private network are:

The messages are secure because they are encrypted. They are cost effective and scalable. They help to centralize IT resources. They enable business continuity.

VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology for using the Internet or another intermediate network to connect computers to isolated remote computer networks that would otherwise be inaccessible. A VPN provides security so that traffic sent through the VPN connection stays isolated from other computers on the intermediate network. VPNs can connect individual users to a remote network or connect multiple networks together. For example, a user may use a VPN to connect to their work computer terminal from home and access their email, files, images, etc. Through VPNs, users are able to access resources on remote networks, such as files, printers, databases, or internal websites. VPN remote users get the impression of being directly connected to the central network via a point-topoint link. INTERNETWORK Internetworking (a combination of the words inter ("between") and networking; it is not internet-working or international-network) is the practice of connecting a computer network with other networks through the use of gateways that provide a common method of routing information packets between the networks. The resulting system of interconnected networks is called an internetwork, or simply an internet. The most notable example of internetworking is the Internet, a network of networks based on many underlying hardware technologies, but unified by an internetworking protocol standard, the Internet Protocol Suite, often also referred to as TCP/IP. The smallest amount of effort to create an internet (an internetwork, not the Internet), is to have two LAN's of computers connected to each other via a router. Simply using either a switch or a hub to connect two local area networks together doesn't imply internetworking; it just expands the original LAN.