There are many types of computer networks, but they all share some essential components:
- Multiple computers or Internet-connected devices
- A router and application software to coordinate the information exchange between computers
- A server, often the main computer on the network, to monitor activity and connect computers to shared devices like printers.
Different types of networks serve different purposes. Some of the most common types are:
- PAN (Personal Area Network): A PAN links a computer and devices
- LAN (Local Area Network): A LAN covers a small geographic area, such as a home, office or building. This network interconnects devices to the Internet.
- WAN (Wide Area Network): A WAN connects two or more LANS together without immediate boundaries.
- WPAN/ WLAN / WWAN: These are wireless (W) versions of the networks as described.
- Internet: The Internet describes a worldwide interconnection of governmental, academic, public and private networks.