A network is a set of devices linked together to exchange data. To do this, they need to be connected to each other, but also to understand each other via a network protocol.
1. PAN (Personal Area Network)
The PAN allows to exchange data between close devices (usually in the same room). To do this, there are 2 physical transmission techniques, USB and FireWire. It is also possible to connect two devices via WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) with technologies such as wireless USB, Bluetooth or Z-Wave.
It is also possible to connect a PAN network to other larger networks.
2. LAN (Local Area Network)
If you need to connect several computers on a network, you create a LAN or local area network. To do this, we most often use the Ethernet protocol.
To connect more than 2 computers together, it is necessary to add other elements, like a hub or a network switch. These elements act as distribution nodes or coupling elements.
The LAN allows you to transmit a large amount of data quickly. It allows you to share file servers, printers and applications.
It is also possible to connect via WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network).
Although both solutions are possible, Ethernet offers more security and a higher data rate.
3. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
The MAN makes it possible to connect several nearby LANs. This allows for very fast data exchange between different branches of a company for example. By using fiber optics and powerful routers, the data exchange is faster than via the Internet.
4. WAN (Wide Area Network)
WAN makes it possible to connect different machines far away (on a continental scale). To do this, the WAN is based on the technologies of IP addresses.
WANs are often managed by our Internet service providers.
5. GAN (Global Area Network)
Basically, the Internet is a GAN, a global network allowing the exchange of information between different devices. But the internet is not the only GAN. Many companies use a GAN to connect different WANs together. GANs use submarine cables and satellite transmissions.