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Get to Know How Computer Network Works and Their Types

Last updated: Apr 29, 2024

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Computer networks are one of the complementary components of computers that make it possible to maximize computer performance. 

Since a computer is a collection of hardware, cables, and software, having a computer network will make it easier for you to do more work.

So, what is a computer network? A computer network is a network that connects computers so that they can share data and communicate with each other. 

A computer network consists of hardware and software, each part of which receives and sends services to connected computers. 

The function of computer networks is to exchange data, communicate, transfer information, and share resources, and share resources. 

So, how does it work? Check out this guide for more explanation on how computer networks work!


How Computer Networks Work

Illustration of a computer network.
Figure 1: Illustration of a computer network.

A computer network is a network made up of connections called nodes. Nodes include devices such as routers, switches, and computers connected by wired or wireless signals. 

The role of the nodes in a computer network is to determine how to send and receive data and follow protocols. 

Four main components are required to form a computer network, which are:

  • Link: A transmission medium consisting of wireless and wired links. Wireless links are LANs, radios, etc., while wired links are telephone wires, fiber optic cables, etc.. 
  • Node: Hardware devices connected to the internet network, such as computers, cell phones, routers, and so on. 
  • Security Network: This network is needed to control security. Examples of this network are firewalls, proxy servers, and so on. 
  • Communication Protocol: These are the protocol rules followed by the nodes. Commonly used protocols include Ethernet, TCP/IP, and wireless LAN. 


So, how does a computer network work? The way a computer network works is by assembling existing nodes. 

Next, the computer network will follow the communication protocol so that the connected devices can communicate. 

Each device connected to a computer network has an Internet protocol so that other devices can identify it.

Then, routers are devices that provide access to communication between networks where routers determine the best way to share data for these networks. 

This is where the switch comes in, connecting devices and managing how they communicate across the network. Switches also ensure that information on the network is sent to its destination.


Types of Computer Networks

After knowing how computer networks work, let's learn the types of computer networks so that you can choose what network to use later.  Here are the types of networks you need to know:


1. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

The first type of computer network is a Metropolitan Area Network or MAN. MAN is a computer network that can connect devices in the same city. 

An example of a MAN is a computer network that connects branch offices in a city. 


2. Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN is a network similar to MAN but has a more limited range. LANs can only connect devices that are close together and use the same cable. 

An example of using a LAN is a computer network that connects devices in one internet cafe building. 


3. Personal Area Network (PAN)

PAN is a computer network that connects personal devices. Examples of its use are connecting a cell phone with a Bluetooth speaker or a computer with a printer. 


4. Wide Area Network (WAN)

WAN is a computer network that can connect devices or other networks such as LANs and MANs with a longer range, such as between countries. 

Using a WAN allows you to transmit data from one country to another.


5. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN is a network that allows users to access the internet without being tracked because they are connected to the private network of a VPN provider.

VPNs can now be accessed for free on various platforms, although there are also paid ones that offer more features. 

That is all about how computer networks work and their types. Understanding how a computer network works will make your job easier, especially if there is a disruption in the network. 

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