Local Area Networks (LAN)
Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)
Wide Area Networks (WAN)
A network can be any size. For Example, connecting two home computers so they can share data creates a simple network. Companies can have networks consisting of a few dozen computers or hundreds of computers. The Internet is the world,s largest network and connects millions of computers all over the world.
Network users are usually required to identify themselves before they can gain access to the information on a network. This is known as logging on. Each user must enter a personalized user name and password to access a network. By keeping this information secret, users can prevent unauthorized people from accessing the network.
You can use a network to share information with other people. Information can be ant form of data, such as a document created in a word processing program, a picture drawn in an imaging application or information from a database. Before networks, people often used floppy disks or any other storage device to exchange information between computers, which was a slow and unreliable process. With networks, exchanging information between computers is quick and easy.
Computers connected to a network can share equipment and devices, called resources. The ability to share resources the cost of buying computer hardware. For example, instead of having to buy a printer for each person on a network, everyone can share one central printer.
Networks allow people to access programs stored on a central computer, such a s a spreadsheet or word processing program. Individuals can use their own computers to access and work with the programs. By sharing a program, a company can avoid having to install a copy of the program on each person's computer.