In information technology, a network is a series of points or nodes interconnected by communication paths. Networks can interconnect with other networks and contain subnetworks.

The most common topology or general configurations of networks include the bus, star,token ring, and mesh topologies. Networks can also be characterized in terms of spatial distance as local area networks (LANs), metropolitan area networks (MANs), and wide area networks (WANs).

A given network can also be characterized by the type of data transmission technology in use on it (for example, a TCP/IP

or Systems Network Architecture network); by whether it carries voice, data, or both kinds of signals; by who can use the network (public or private); by the usual nature of its connections (dial-up or switched, dedicated or nonswitched, or virtual connections); and by the types of physical links (for example, optical fiber, coaxial cable, and Unshielded Twisted Pair). Large telephone networks and networks using their infrastructure (such as the Internet) have sharing and exchange arrangements with other companies so that larger networks are created.



(n.) A network is a group of two or more computer systems linked together. There are many types of computer networks, including:

  • local-area networks (LANs) : The computers are geographically close together (that is, in the same building).
  • wide-area networks (WANs) : The computers are farther apart and are connected by telephone lines or radio waves.
  • campus-area networks (CANs): The computers are within a limited geographic area, such as a campus or military base.
  • metropolitan-area networks MANs): A data network designed for a town or city.
  • home-area networks (HANs): A network contained within a user’s home that connects a person’s digital devices.
  • In addition to these types, the following characteristics are also used to categorize different types of networks:

  • topology : The geometric arrangement of a computer system. Common topologies include a bus, star, and ring. See the Network topology diagrams in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.
  • protocol : The protocol defines a common set of rules and signals that computers on the network use to communicate. One of the most popular protocols for LANs is called Ethernet. Another popular LAN protocol for PCs is the IBM token-ring network .
  • architecture : Networks can be broadly classified as using either apeer-to-peer or client/server architecture.
  • Computers on a network are sometimes called nodes. Computers anddevices that allocate resources for a network are called servers.

    To connect two or more computers together with the ability to communicate with each other.

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