Types of Network

Different types of network can be seen everywhere. The standard definition of a network is two devices that are connected together to share data or hardware. This is quite a broad statement, so we narrow this down into different types that share similar characteristics.

What wireless protocol is used most often with a PAN?

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A PAN, or Personal Area Network often uses Bluetooth as it is wireless, secure, and short range.
More About Protocols

When classifying different types of network, the following acronyms are used:

  • LAN – Local Area Network
  • WAN – Wide Area Network
  • PAN – Personal Area Network
  • MAN – Metropolitan Area Network

For all examples, to be classified as a network two or more devices must be linked together, but we add additional characteristcs and uses:

Local Area Networks

A local area network can be wired or wireless, but connects devices over a small geographical area such as a house or an office. These networks may or may not be connected to the internet, but do need to have a device such as a router, switch, or hub to allow the devices to communicate.

Wide Area Networks

Wide area networks are used over a larger geographical area than LANs.A WAN is usually made by connecting several LANs together to form a larger network.

One major difference, is that a WAN must be connected to a telecommunication device (usually the internet) to connect the different LANs. In fact, you probably use the world’s largest WAN regularly… the Internet!

Personal Area Networks

With the rise in personalmobile devices, PANs have allowed us to connect our devices together to communicate.

Have you ever connected your wireless headphones to your phone? You’ve used a PAN.

Have you used your mobile phone as a WiFi hotspot for another device? You’ve used a PAN.

Metropolitan Area Networks

This is a lesser known term and describes a network that covers a whole town or city. A good example of this is the city wide WiFi provided in Norwich (link here).

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Scribbl.it Notes

The Types of Network Scribbl.it Notes provide a structured way for students to revise the areas covered in class in a visual way. Students should be encouraged to colour and add to the notes page being as creative as possible.

There are known benefits to using Scribbl.it Notes (whether structured like these, or independently created):

  • Increased Attention
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  • Increased memory for content
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Test your knowledge with the Types of Network – Full quiz!

Click the next button to start the quiz. Questions are shown one at a time.


What does PAN stand for?


Which of these are a wireless connection?


What is the definition of a Local Areas Network (LAN)


Bluetooth is a type of protocol most often used by which sort of network?


Allows a secure connection to a remote server using an encrypted tunnel?


A type of network which is often used by businesses that have lots of remote users connecting from different locations:


What type of network are you using if you are using your mobile as a Wifi hotspot for another device?


The internet is the best example of a:


What is a SAN?


Which of these is a wired connection?

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Flash Cards

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What does LAN stand for?

LAN (Local Area Network)

Local Area Network

What is the definition of a network?

Two or more devices connected to share data

Networks can take on a variety of forms from small personal area networks, to global wide area networks.

What type of network has devices connected that are geographically close?

LAN (Local Area Network)

LANs for Local Area Networks are often used in homes, offices, or schools to connect devices together.

What is the definition of a LAN?

LAN (Local Area Network)

A network of the computers on a single site, or geographically close to each other. Eg. A home or small office

What type of network has devices that are geographically far apart?

WAN (Wide Area Network)

WANs or Wide Area Networks allow two or more LANs to be connected via telecommunication methods (usually the internet)

What is the definition of a PAN

PAN (Personal Area Network)

A network for your personal devices, usually using Bluetooth

What does PAN stand for?

PAN (Personal Area Network)

Personal Area Network

What is the definition of a protocol?


A set of rules for Communication

What type of network allows you to connect wireless headphones to your phone?

PAN (Personal Area Network)

PANs or Personal Area Networks are short range networks that allow you to connect your personal devices together. They usually use Bluetooth or WiFi

What does WAN stand for?

WAN (Wide Area Network)

Wide Area Network

What type of network spans a whole town or city?

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

MANs or Metropolitan Area Networks are huge networks (usually wireless) that span whole cities or towns.

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