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Types of Area Network

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM
Computer Networks


In this blog, we will discuss Types of area networks. Area Networks are used to connect a group of computers and various other network devices for the devices to easily communicate with each other and share resources based on some protocols.

Based on the geographical span, these area networks are divided as:

Types of Area Network


We will discuss each of them individually.

You can also read about the Layered Architecture in Computer Network and Basic Networking Commands

PAN (Personal Area Network)


As the name suggests, this is the smallest network and very personal to a user. It includes Bluetooth-enabled devices or infrared-enabled devices. The connectivity range of PAN is up to 10 meters. 

There are two types of PAN:

  1. Wired PAN devices such as printers, TV remotes, etc.
  2. Wireless PAN devices such as wireless computer keyboards, wireless computer mice, Bluetooth-enabled headphones, etc.


  • Easy connection to many devices.
  • Affordable cost, reliable, secure, and easy to use.


  • The range is less, which may establish a bad connection to other networks.
  • Slow transfer of data.    

Also see, Message Switching in Computer Networks

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LAN (Local Area Network)    


As the name suggests, this is a local network or privately owned computer network covering a small network geographical areas or small physical areas like a home, office or building. Example: a school network.

LANs are widely used in business organizations, factories, colleges, universities and industries to share resources such as files or hardware devices. IEEE has developed the specification for LANs. The speed of Data transfer over a local area network can reach up to 10 Mbps (such as for an Ethernet network) and 1 Gbps (such as with FDDI or Gigabit Ethernet).

LANs can be set up in 2 ways:

  • Wired LAN ( example: Ethernet - hub, switch )
  • Wireless LAN (example: Wi-Fi )


  • The ownership of the LAN network is private, the setup cost is low, and it is easy to maintain
  • Sharing of the internet becomes easy and client-server relationships can develop.


  • Data security problem occurs.
  • Server crashes may affect all computers.

You can also read about mime protocol and Personal Area Network

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)  


MAN is larger than LAN and can cover a city and its surrounding areas. Generally, a metropolitan area network can be created by interconnecting two LANs. To establish LAN, we use switches and hubs, and two connect these two LANs, we need routers or bridges. The geographical area covered by MAN is larger than the LAN network but smaller than WAN ( wide area network ). These networks deliver fast and efficient communication using a high-speed carrier, such as fibre optic cables. The best-known example of MAN is a cable television network available in the whole city. A MAN can also be created as a single network such as a Cable TV Network, which covers the entire city or a group of several Local Area Networks. The ownership of the MAN network is private or public, the setup cost is average, and it is difficult to maintain compared to LAN.


  • Sending local emails.
  • High speed than WAN and conversion from LAN to MAN is easy.


  • Hackers can attack.
  • More wires are required.

WAN (Wide Area Network)    


A wide area network is a telecommunication network that is used for communications between devices of large geographical areas such as countries and continents and uses common carriers like a satellite system, telephone lines, etc.

A WAN can contain multiple smaller networks, such as LANs or MANs. The internet, we use frequently, is the largest WAN, spanning the entire earth. These WANs are commonly connected either through the internet or special arrangements made with phone companies or other service providers. The devices used in WAN are all end devices and intermediary devices. The speed of WAN networks depends upon the cost of the companies. The ownership of the WAN network is private or public.


  • Covers large geographical area and has high bandwidth.
  • Distribute workload and decrease travel charges.


  • the setup cost is very high, and it is most challenging to maintain.
  • Needs firewall and antivirus software. Server down and disconnection issue also occurs.


Till now, I assume you must have got a basic idea about the types of area network.

You can also read about the network models in computer network.

Explore more:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ethernet in Computer Network?

It is a technology to connect various computer devices in a wired local area network. There are multiple types of ethernet available. Some examples include fast ethernet, gigabit ethernet, etc.

What is the main difference between hubs and switches? 

Hubs and switches are network devices used to connect multiple computers to a network. The main difference between hub and switch is that the data transferred to one device from the hub is broadcast to all other devices. This is not the case in switches. Here data is received only by the required device.

What are data packets and frames?

In the network layer, the unit of data or information is called packets. Frames are referred to in the data link layer. They contain more information than packets.


This article taught us about different types of area networks. We individually discussed personal area networks, local area networks, metropolitan area networks and wide area networks.

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Topics covered
PAN (Personal Area Network)
LAN (Local Area Network)    
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)  
WAN (Wide Area Network)    
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ethernet in Computer Network?
What is the main difference between hubs and switches? 
What are data packets and frames?