Computer Knowledge

Types of Network


Local Area Network (LAN) is two or more connected computers sharing certain resources in a relatively small geographic location, often in the same building. Examples include home networks and office networks. Often a LAN is a private network belonging to an organization or business because LAN are geographically small, they usually use cables or low-power radio (wireless) for the connections.


A wireless LAN (WLAN) is a LAN that uses radio signals (Wi-Fi) to connect computers instead of cables. At the center of the WLAN is a wireless switch or router, a small box with one or two antennas sticking out the back, used for sending and receiving data to the computers. Most laptops have a wireless antenna built into the case. It is much more convenient to use wireless connections instead of running long wires all over a building. Typically, the range of a wireless connection is about 50m, but it depends how many walls, etc. are in the way.


A Wide Area Network is a network that extends over a large area. A WLAN id often created by joining several LANs together, such as when a business that has offices in different countries links the office LANs together. Because WANs are often geographically spread over large areas and links between computers are over long distance, they often use quite exotic connections technologies: optical fibre (glass) cables, satellite radio links, microwave radio links, etc.

The internet is an example of a global WAN. In fact, it is the world’s largest WAN.


Bluetooth networking only works over very short distance, and with devices belonging to one user, this type of network is sometimes called a ‘personal Area Network. Bluetooth is a wireless networking technology designed for very short-range connections typically just a few meters.

Bluetooth devices contain small, low-power radio transmitters and receivers. When devices are in range of other Bluetooth devices, they detect each other and be period.

Typically uses of Bluetooth:

  • Connecting a wireless keyboard to a computer.
  • Connecting a wireless mouse to a computer.
  • Using a wireless headset with a mobile phone.
  • Transferring data/mouse from a computer to an MP3 player.

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