Types of Network
A network is just a group of computers connected together. There are two basic ways to set them up - either the clients server model - where there is a central point to the network - the server and then the clients conenct to it, or a peer to peer network - where there is no central point, no server and information is shared between the various "peer" devices.There is a more detailed comparrison of these two models here.
When building a network it is also important to recognise what "type" it is going to be - type is not a technical term it is just the word I use. There are four types:
Local Area Network (LAN)
A LAN covers a small geographical area, usually on one site. You regularly find LANs in businesses, schools, universities etc. Usually all the network hardware is owned by the organisation (business, school etc). They are either wired with ethernet cables or wireless. You may have a wireless LAN at home with multiple devices on it (Phones, Games Console, PC etc)
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A WAN connects several LANs together. These LANS are usually in multiple site, in multiple geographic areas, for example with offices in four different towns. The hardware is often leased - such as a Fibre Optic data line. (WAN's cost a lot more than LANs to set up and run)
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
These are a type of WAN set up in a large town or city and prove things like free wifi (they are not common in the UK)
Personal Area Network (PAN)
A PAN connects devices designed for personal use.
You may have one of these in your bed room if have all your devices connected together, for example a PC which can access data from a Mobile phone and connects to a printer and bluetooth speakers.
Personal Area Network