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The seven types of data networks you'll probably come across

June 17, 2017

The seven types of data networks you'll probably come across

Businesses depend on communication networks to transmit information; each uses a system of symbols, writing, signals, or speech to share information, communicating via tools such as phones and computers. Each network has specific purposes and uses such as running voice, videoconferencing, email, and other UCC tools, along with file transfers and critical business transactions. Networks are required to enable organizations to reduce overall capital expenditures and improve their agility. A predictable infrastructure is needed for these applications to work. Network requirements are only going to become more important as application load and user expectations grow. So what type of networks might a VAR come across while working with enterprise customers? Some of the most necessary and common are described here:

  • Local Area Network (LAN) – A local area network is a network of computers in a localized area, such as in an office or on a campus. All the computers are connected to each other through the LAN via a hub or a switch. The larger the number of computers on the LAN, the slower the LAN runs.

  • Wide-Area Network (WAN) – A wide-area network covers a large geographic area and typically consists of multiple computer networks. The Internet is a type of WAN that relies on a large global network of service providers that use routers, switches, modems, and servers to provide connectivity to workers and organizations around the globe. It is a network of interconnected computers that carries data, media, and webpages.

  • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – The public switched network is basically the telephone's version of the Internet. It is a network of public circuit-switched telecommunication. Today’s network is mostly digital and includes services for both cellular and landline phones. Telecommunication is the transmission of signals over a large distance, usually by electromagnetic waves. It is used for radio and telephones. Computer data transmission is also a form of telecommunication.

  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) – A MAN is a network that uses technology designed to extend over an entire city. For example, a company could employ a MAN to connect the LANs in all its offices throughout a city.

  • Wireless Networks – Wireless networks provide transmission and network connectivity to devices without cables or wires. Wi-Fi is a wireless network for computers that have remote access to the network. Bluetooth, which connects with a nearby mobile phone, is a shorter-range version of a wireless network and supports transmission of voice and data, but only at a distance of a few feet from the communication device that it works with.

  • Cellular and PCS – These systems use several radio communications technologies for cellular and PCS devices. The systems divide the region covered into multiple geographic areas. Each area has a low-power transmitter or radio relay antenna device to relay calls from one area to the next area.

  • Satellite Networks – Satellite networks are offered in a number of configurations. Telephone operating companies use satellites for data and voice transmission to mobile phones on the ground. Some satellite networks provide navigation information, military surveillance, or weather data. Still others provide television programming, radio broadcasts, and even broadband Internet service.

Data communication is the transmission of digital messages to external devices, including telephones, radios, computers, and mobile devices. An understanding of the basic types of data communications networks will allow VARs to discuss data transmission with clients—and let them be seen as educated, trusted advisors.

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