Networks: Lan, WAN, Internet
The internet is the short term for the technical term, internetwork. Internetworking is the practice of other networks connecting to a computer network through the use of gateways which make a common method of routing information packets between the networks. The result of this system is called an internetwork or in simpler terms, the internet.
The internet allows you to connect easily through local phone numbers and personal computers. You can exchange electronic mail (E-mail) among friends and collagues with accounts on the internet. You can do things like posting information for others to see and access as well as being able to update it frequently too. You can also access multimedia information that include sound, photographic images, and even video. The internet in a sense is like a gateway to the whole world where you can interact with or see.
A lan is a local set up for interconnecting computers. LAN is also the short term word for Local Area Network. There are three characteristics of a LAN: the size of a LAN network, the topology of the local area network, and the technology LAN's use for transmission.
LAN is useful in doing things like sharing files, printers, games, or other applications and is usually connected to other LANs or the internet or other WAN. Often the term LAN party is used which refers to a multiplayer gaming event where the participants bring their own computers and make up a temporary LAN.
Example of a LAN party:
imaged sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter_2004_DreamHack_LAN_Party.jpg
LANs use certain physical layout designs referred to as topologies. There is bus, star, ring, token ring, mesh, and tree network topologies.
In a bus network topology, every workstation is connected to a main cable called the bus. So as a result, every workstation is connected directly with every other workstation in the network.
In a star network topology, there is a server or a central computer where all the workstations are directly connected with. That is to say every workstation is indirectly connected to every other through the central computer.
A token ring protocol is used in a star or ring topology which is when the signal travels in only one direction carried from node to node.
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A mesh network topology uses two schemes called full mesh and partial mesh. A full mesh topology is when workstations are connected to each of the others directly. A partial mesh topology is when some workstations are connected to all the others while some other ones are only connected to the other nodes in which they exchange the most data.
A tree network topology uses two or more star networks that are connected together. In this case, central computers of the star networks are connected via a main bus. So basically, a tree network is a bus network of star networks.
Click to see diagrams of-->LAN Topologies
WAN is a Wide Area Network where it would be all networks too large to be LANs. Basically a WAN spans a large geographic area, such as a state, province, or country. WANs often connect multiple smaller networks, such as local area networks (LANs) or metro area networks (MANs).
The world's most popular WAN is the Internet. Many WANs are corporate or research networks that utilize leased lines.
Lan vs WAN