Computer Network

A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of computers and devices interconnected by communications channels that facilitate communications among users and allows users to share resources. Networks may be classified according to a wide variety of characteristics. A computer network allows sharing of resources and information among interconnected devices.


Early networks of communicating computers included the military radar system Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) and its relative the commercial airline reservation system Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment (SABRE), started in the late 1950s.[1][2] In the 1960s, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) started funding the design of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) for the United States Department of Defense. Development of the network began in 1969, based on designs developed during the 1960s.[3] The ARPANET evolved into the modern Internet.


Computer networks can be used for a variety of purposes:

Network classification

The following list presents categories used for classifying networks.

Connection method

Computer networks can be classified according to the hardware and software technology that is used to interconnect the individual devices in the network, such as optical fiberEthernetwireless LANHomePNApower line communication or

Ethernet as it is defined by IEEE 802 utilizes various standards and mediums that enable communication between devices. Frequently deployed devices include hubs, switches, bridges, or routers. Wireless LAN technology is designed to connect devices without wiring. These devices use radio waves orinfrared signals as a transmission medium. ITU-T technology uses existing home wiring (coaxial cable, phone lines and power lines) to create a high-speed (up to 1 Gigabit/s) local area network.

Wired technologies

Wireless technologies


Networks are often classified as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), metropolitan area network (MAN), personal area network (PAN), virtual private network (VPN), campus area network (CAN), storage area network (SAN), and others, depending on their scale, scope and purpose, e.g., controller area network (CAN) usage, trust level, and access right often differ between these types of networks. LANs tend to be designed for internal use by an organization's internal systems and employees in individual physical locations, such as a building, while WANs may connect physically separate parts of an organization and may include connections to third parties.



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