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The CompTIA Training Series: Identifying Major Types of Network Implementations
Whether you have decided to learn more about computer network aspects and intricacies, or are in the process of CompTIA training programs; it is a beneficial portfolio of knowledge to possess; aiding with both on the journey towards a Cisco certification or expansion of digital world knowledge.
The internet is an endless repository of information. However, essentially, the internet is just a big network of several thousands of smaller networks around the world.
From a small number of computers within an office building, to millions of devices in a metropolitan city; every device is part of and forms the network, which will then be part of the internet. In short, it is a collection of interconnected networks exchanging information with each other by using common standards. To ensure consistency of effective communication, there are few organizations such as Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and ICANN that administrate the internet by ensuring implementation of a common structure and standard protocols.
Let us discuss some of the structures, implementations, and protocols that form a network.
The other terms you may hear with internet are intranet and extranet.
This is a private network only accessible by select people. It can be implemented by an organization that wants to build a network for its employees. Intranets are based on the internet, but they have limited access.
A student network in a university is an example of intranet. The portal is created on the internet and accessible through HTTP browsers. Students can log-in, check their attendance and class timings, submit application forms, and access learning resources.
Extranet consists of outside individuals who are given access to a firm/institution’s internal network. They can be people who work for the organization and require information and communication to perform their roles.
There are several types of networks. These include:
Local Area Network (LAN):
LAN is a network of computers that are in close proximity with each other. A LAN is small in scale and is used to establish a network within an organization. All the computers, printers, and other network-capable devices in your office are all connected with each other, via LAN.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN):
MAN describes a network that is much bigger in geographic scale, such as a city. They use high-speed mediums to connect one group of LANs to another.
Imagine an organization that has multiple branches in the same city. These branches share information through the established network. An electronic store that has multiple branches can connect stores to each other and inventory information can be shared to provide customers information on stock.
Wide Area Network (WAN):
A WAN describes the collection of LANs and MANs. It spans a geographical area that is bigger than a MAN. Internet can be thought of as a Wide Area Network. Unlike LANs and MANs, WANs are not owned by a single entity. It is simply a collection of networks that can range from LAN or MAN.
It does not matter whether the devices in the network are connected using a wired connection or a wireless connection. The scale of the network defines the type of network.
There are other considerations to make when forming a network. As we said, the scale of the network defines whether it is LAN, MAN or WAN; however, the physical layout of the network defines what purpose it serves. These are called network topologies.
A topology is the virtual structure of a network. Topologies define how data will flow within the network.
The first topology we have is the bus topology. It describes two or more computers connected via a common transmission medium having two endpoints. Data travels only in one direction. Bus topologies are used for small networks. They are cost-effective and it is easier to introduce more computers on the network by simply expanding the cable.
A ring topology describes serial connectivity of computers. The virtual structure forms a ring, where the first computer relates to the second, the second with the third, and so forth. The ring completes when the node reaches the initial starting point, i.e. the first computer. Data travels in one direction and must cross all computers in between to reach its destination.
In a star topology, all computers have their independent node that connects directly to a central server, through which communication happens. If one computer in the network wants to communicate with another computer in the network, it must request the server.
Unlike a Bus or Ring topology, if one node breaks in a Star topology, the entire network will not be affected. Star topologies are expensive to implement, but provide reliability.
A Mesh topology is the most robust of all the topologies. All computers in the network are connected with each other. Data has multiple routes to travel. Such a network can be programmed so that data may take the shortest path to its destination.
A structure in which each computer is not fully connected with more than two computers on the network, is called Partial Mesh.
Mesh topology is the most difficult and expensive to develop and maintain, but provides the best reliability.
A hybrid topology features a mix of two or more topologies. Hybrid topology allows for the flexibility of implementing a network based on individual and specific requirements.
This sums up our brief explanation on the implementations of various types of networks. If you wish to proceed with learning, CompTIA training programs are a great way to build IT knowledge. It will also help you prepare for CompTIA’s professional certification exam.