A computer network is an interconnection of a group of computers. Networks may be classified by what is called the network layer at which they operate according to basic reference models considered as standards in the industry such as the four-layer Internet Protocol Suite model. While the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model is better known in academia, the majority of networks use the Internet Protocol Suite (IP) as their network model.
Computer networks may be classified according to the scale: Personal area network (PAN), Local Area Network (LAN), Campus Area Network (CAN), Metropolitan area network (MAN), or Wide area network (WAN). As Ethernet increasingly is the standard interface to networks, these distinctions are more important to the network administrator than the end user. Network administrators may have to tune the network, based on delay that derives from distance, to achieve the desired Quality of Service (QoS). The primary difference in the networks is the size.
Controller Area Networks are a special niche, as in control of a vehicle's engine, a boat's electronics, or a set of factory robots.
By connection method
Computer networks may be classified according to the hardware technology that is used to connect the individual devices in the network such as Optical fiber, Ethernet, Wireless LAN, HomePNA, or Power line communication.
Ethernets use physical wiring to connect devices. Often, they employ the use of hubs, switches, bridges, and routers.
Wireless LAN technology is built to connect devices without wiring. These devices use a radio frequency to connect.
By functional relationship (Network Architectures)
Computer networks may be classified according to the functional relationships which exist between the elements of the network, for example Active...