VLAN, WLAN, LAN… and other types of networks you should know
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Network Types: Are you sure you know them all, every single one?
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The term “network” is used in computing to name a set of computers connected to each other in such a way that they can share resources, services, and information. There are several ways to classify these networks, based on their scope, relationship, or connection method. Let’s take a look here at some network types.
Network Types: LAN
A local area network (LAN) is a network that interconnects computers within a limited area. There we can put any residence, a school, a laboratory, the college campus or a building full of offices.
Both computers and other mobile devices use a local area network connection to share resources. We can think about interconnecting from our device with a printer or network storage, for example.
Ethernet and Wi-Fi are the two most common technologies in use for local area networks. Other LAN technologies include Token Ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface, and ARCNET, but those have been losing users as Ethernet and Wi-Fi speeds have increased.
Types of networks: MAN
A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that interconnects, over a high-speed connection, users with computing resources from a geographic area or region larger than that covered by a local area network (LAN), but less than that covered by an extended area network (WAN), which we’ll see later.
Such networks can be public or private. They are developed with two unidirectional buses; they act independently from each other when transferring data. In equal sizes, fiber optics will give less error rate when transmitting information than if copper cable is used. Both options, however, are safe. They do not give rise to the alteration of their signal, unless the link is physically interrupted.
Network Types: WAN
A wide area network (WAN) is any telecommunications network or computing network that extends over a large distance or geographic location. Such networks are often established with leased telecommunications circuits. Large companies or institutional entities use WAN to transmit data to their staff, their customers, their suppliers, or their users, even though they are in different locations around the world. As you can imagine, this mode of telecommunication allows a company to carry out its daily function effectively, regardless of its location. Yes, and the Internet, the Internet itself, can be considered a WAN.
Network Types: WLAN
A wireless LAN is a wireless computing network that connects two or more devices via wireless communication to form a local area network (LAN) within a limited area. (Let’s remember what we talk about when we talk about a “limited area”: any residence, a school, a laboratory, the college campus or a building full of offices…)
This new option gives users the ability to move within the area while being connected to the network. WLAN can also provide a wider connection through a gateway.
WLAN has become quite popular, especially in private homes, due to the ease with which it is installed and its use. It is also the most popular in those businesses where they offer wireless access to their employees, their customers, and to those who stop by for a while.
Network Types: VLAN
VLAN (Virtual LAN) gives us the opportunity to create networks that are logically independent, even if they are covered by the same physical network.
Thus, any user can have multiple VLANs within the same router or switch. Each of these networks brings together the computers of a specific network segment. These created partitions are a manifest advantage when we want to manage a network.
Currently VLANs are configured through software and bring us many benefits in terms of security and effective computer management. You should think that devices related to one VLAN do not have access to those in others and the same thing in the opposite way. It’s quite useful if you think about segmenting your computers and limiting access between them for security reasons.
Its management is simpler, for the simple reason that we will have the devices divided by “groups“, even belonging to the same network.
Here’s an example of its benefits in your household. With the VLAN, at home, you can separate devices that do access the Internet from those that do not. This can prevent any intruder from reaching them over the Internet and infecting them with some malware.
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