The Different Types of Computer Networks

The term “network”, in relation to computers, is often described as a group of computing devices that exchange data with one another. By the term “computing devices,” we not only mean personal computers, including laptops and desktops, but all devices that can run a program. When you think about things from this perspective, you realize that a lot of things that you previously described as non-computers can actually be labeled as computers. These include mobiles, smartwatches, home automation devices, tablets, and gaming consoles.

The widening of the meaning of the term “computing device” widens what is meant by the word “network”. In fact, networks are said to come in many different types. If you were wondering what the different types are, consider yourself lucky to have landed on this page! We say this with so much confidence knowing that we will be comparing the different types of networks in detail in this piece.

Wide Area Network

What can be larger than a network that connects computers within a metropolitan area? A network that connects computers between different cities. In fact, wide area networks (WANs) also connect people over oceans. Isn’t that fascinating? Let us explore further one particular WAN you may have heard about.

The Internet
The internet is actually made of many web pages. In fact, according to Google, there are approximately 56.5 billion web pages indexed on the search engine alone! One can only imagine how many web pages actually exist when you include the deep web and the dark web. Wait, you don’t know what we are talking about? Let us delve deeper into the types of the World Wide Web.

  • Surface web: the part of the web that is seen by everyone, is indexable on search engines, and does not require login credentials
  • Deep web: the web pages that are accessible only by some who have the required credentials. They are not indexable on search engines such as Google.
  • Dark web: as the name suggests, this part of the web is the most secretive and is often used for
    criminal activity. Needless to say, it is not indexable on search engine results pages
  • To know more about the global network, feel free to call up the customer care departments of its major providers such as Xfinity customer service. As the representatives of its suppliers, the agents on call will have a ton of knowledge about the internet.

    Personal Area Network

    Like the pans at your home, PANs (Personal Area Networks) are also structured simply. They are very small and basic and usually serve only one person at their workplace or their homes. An example of a PAN can be as small as a computer, a printer, or a wireless network. Because of the small size, PANs are cheaper to not only install but also to maintain. A PAN is usually owned by a single individual.

    Local Area Network

    LANs connect computers that are very close to one another. These can be computing devices in the same buildings or next door. Businesses usually have local area networks to connect computers in their office to one another. Another example of the use of LANs lies in gaming zones. These zones connect one computer to the other so that people can play against one another while operating their own personal computing devices. A LAN is usually owned by a company.

    Campus Area Network

    Just like the name implies, campus area networks (CANs) are designed to connect computers between buildings that are in close proximity to one another. Think how, on a college campus, you can recover your data on the college’s saved drive from any computer on campus, no matter it is in a dorm or a campus center. In the same way, if you go to campuses of different large corporations such as Google’s Googleplex, you will see computing devices talking to one another from different corners of the campus. As explained above, a CAN is usually owned by a large organization.

    Metropolitan Area Network

    As in the case of campus area networks, metropolitan area networks are also appropriately named. These networks connect computers within a single metropolitan area. This area can be as small as a campus or as big as a large city. Notice that CANs are, by definition, MANs. Explained in units, MANs can connect computers that are 5 kilometers apart to 50 kilometers apart. What is different about MANs compared to the networks mentioned above is that, instead of being owned by single entities such as individuals, companies, or large organizations, they are owned by user groups or by network providers who, in turn, sell services to users. A cable TV network may very well be considered a MAN.


    We hope this article has helped you understand the term “computer network” better. Best of luck with getting answers to whatever inquiries you may pursue.

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