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Network types

LAN (Local Area Network)

This is commonly referred to as local area networks. All participating client computers and other network devices are located in a closed location, usually in a single building.


This word of art represents the most widely used technology for LANs. It was derived from a key feature of the underlying access method. Ether is here combined with the name Net for network.
The original Ethernet version was developed in 1976 under the leadership of Xerox and already supported a maximum data rate of 10 Mbit / s. Today, the fastethernet is 100 Mbps, while the next generation with 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet) is already standard on many servers and is gradually being used on desktops and notebooks as well.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)

Not to be confused with WANs are the WLANs, now become fashionable wireless networks. Although no cables are needed to communicate between network subscribers, WLANs are still considered local networks. Because the range between the radio base station and the WLAN clients is usually sufficient only for short distances (inside 30m / outside 300m). Several walls that pass through reduce the data transfer rate so significantly that it is not possible to work normally.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

An MAN identifies a network that spans multiple locations in a defined region. Typical of this are networked company branches in a city or a network on the university campus.

PAN (Personal Area Network)

For small local area networks in a very small, restricted area this abbreviation is used. This is also referred to as the POS (Personal Operating System), which is approximately 10 meters. Bluetooth devices with a PAN profile (e.g., PDAs) can be networked directly to a PC.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

A WAN is simply a network that spans across geographies. WAN links allow local area networks to connect to each other or external workstations to a LAN.

Dial-up (remote data transmission)

This generally refers to a direct connection between two computers outside of a local network. Such a connection is usually via a dial-up via modem or ISDN adapter to fruition. However leased lines are also conceivable.

RAS (Remote Access Service)

Behind RAS is a server service with the Windows clients get the opportunity to connect via a modem, ISDN or X.25 connection to the local network. Not only are different clients supported, but there is also a great deal of flexibility in the selection and combination of the network protocols used.
Since Microsoft's 2000 server family, RRAS (Routing & Remote Access Service) has been designed to help connect this service to all its routing capabilities.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Virtual Private Network is a computer network that uses the Internet to transport private information. Participants of a VPN can exchange data as in an internal LAN. The individual participants themselves do not have to be directly connected to this. The connection over the public network is usually encrypted. However, the term "private" does not imply, as is often assumed, that it is an encrypted transmission. A connection of the networks is made possible via a tunnel between VPN client and VPN server. Mostly the tunnel is secured, but also an unsecured plaintext tunnel is a VPN.


Peer-to-peer refers to communication among equal network partners, in this case clients.


In a peer-to-peer network, all computers have equal rights and can both use services and provide services. The computers can be used as workstations, but also take over tasks in the network.

In information technology, the opposite of the peer-to-peer principle is the client-server principle. Here is the server offering a service and the client using this service. In peer-to-peer networks, this role distribution is suspended. Every host on a LAN is a peer because it can be both client and server.