The Hermit Hermit's Free Library  Computer Networking

Part 4: Computer Networks by Size/Geographical Coverage

This article gives the characteristics by size and geographical coverage of various types of computer networks, including LAN, WAN, MAN, Enterprise, Internetwork, Intranet, and Extranet.

(McFredries, p.985)


Local Area Network: a network in which all nodes are connected with network cables and which occupies a relatively small geographical area. For example: a building, office, or department, or a home.


Wide Area Network: a network consisting of two or more LAN's spread out over a relatively large area. For example: a country or state, or even the world. The networks are sometimes connected using POTs (plain old telephone) technology, but are more likely to use high-speed fiber- optics, microwave dishes, or satellite links.

The CCV's network is a WAN: thirteen sites all connected centrally in Montpelier.


Metropolitan Area Network: connects computers in a city or county and is usually regulated by a municipal or state commission.j


An enterprise network connects all the computers within an organization, no matter how geographically diverse they might be or what OS's they use or what protocols used in different segments.


An interconnection of two or more LAN's using a bridge or router. The Internet is the Global interconnection of networks.


An intranet is analogous to a closed-circuit tv network. It is an implementation of Internet technologies such as TCP/IP and HTTP servers for use within a corporate organization and not for connection with the Internet.


An extranet is an intranet with a wider range than one organization - a company and their suppliers, for example.