There are many types of networks used by businesses and organizations. Since each business and organization has its own needs, each network is unique.
The size of a network can often determine which type of network a business or organization should use. Different ways. For example, a network with over 1,000 users is organized differently and requires a variety of components not found on a network with only five users.
The Size and type of a network determine its cost. The larger the network, the more costly the network is to build, set up and maintain. In addition to needing extra hardware and cables, a larger network also requires specialized cabling and computers to link users and devices that are far apart.
Local Area Networks (LAN)
A Local Area Network (LAN) is the most common type of network found in businesses. Local Area Networks connect computers and devices located close to each other, such as in one building. Local Area Networks connect from as few as two computers to usually no more than 100 computers.
Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)
A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is collection of LANs. Metropolitan Area Networks connect computers located in the same geographic area, such as a city or town. For example, a college may use a Metropolitan Area Network that connects the LAN on each campus throughout a city.
Wide Area Networks (WAN)
A Wide Area Network (WAN) connects Area Networks and Metropolitan Area Networks together. The networks that make up a Wide Area Network may be located throughout a country or even around the world. When a single company owns and controls a Wide Area Network, the Wide Area Network is often referred to as an enterprise network. The Internet is the largest Wide Area Network.