Do you have a business with two or more computers/devices that need to be linked together to communicate and send data? Then you need a network. A network interconnects your computer equipment so you can share resources, exchange files, and communicate electronically. Networks can be simple or complex systems based on your business infrastructure. They are built using hardware and software, such as routers, access points, cables, and business applications.
There are many types of networks available but each is designed to accommodate specific business types and needs. If you are starting a new business, looking to expand, or need to update your current solution, choosing the right network is vital to ensure seamless communications, secure your data and grow your business. When you work with a Network Solutions provider like Execulink, they can help you design a network that is configured to your business.
Network solutions continue to evolve as networking needs evolve. So, to help you understand the different types of networks, we have outlined a list of the most common and widely used computer network types.
Common Network Solutions
Personal Area Network (PAN)
A Personal Area Network is the most basic type of network. It is designed around an individual user, within a residence or small office. PANs are made up of a wireless modem and transmit data over a short distance, among multiple devices including laptops, tablets, phones, printers, and keyboards. They are managed by one person, or organization from a single device.
For example, a home office likely utilizes a PAN to connect their laptop, phone, and printer. A PAN allows the user to share and sync content, like emails, photos, and documents across all devices.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A Local Area Network is one of the most common types of network. LAN connections include both wired and wireless connections that are designed around multiple users within a single building or between buildings in close proximity like schools and campuses.
LANs connect groups of computers/devices and enables them to connect to web servers and internal servers so users can access, share files and resources over a single Internet connection. They are typically privately owned and managed.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
A Wireless Local Area Network is similar in function to a LAN but uses wireless network technology vs. physical cables to connect to the network. The connection between computers and devices is completely wireless.
Transparent Local Area Network (Transparent LAN)
A Transparent LAN Service connects multiple Local Area Networks through an Ethernet service so they can share the same network without complex protocol conversion, carrier equipment, or expensive dedicated facilities. Transparent LAN service can be configured in multiple configurations including point-to-point or multipoint-to-multipoint arrangements. It is designed to increase network manageability by making separate LANs look like one single network.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A Wide Area Network is a bit more complex than a LAN. A WAN connects Local Area Networks (LAN) and other types of networks together across a larger geographic area. A WAN allows organizations with offices in distant locations to transmit data between networks, essentially allowing them to access data and connect devices as if they were all in the same place as long as they have access to the established WAN. It’s designed to interconnect, communicate and share resources from site to site, centralizing your company’s IT infrastructure.
Private Wide Area Network (PWAN)
There are two options when choosing a WAN – Public and Private WAN. A WAN commonly utilizes the Internet, which is a public network to form a connection. While this is a viable option, public networks are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, delays, and disconnections due to sharing with the wider population. If you are a multi-site organization that hosts and shares business-critical data connecting through a public network may not be ideal. In this case, a Private Wide Area Network (PWAN) may be the right choice.
A Private Wide Area Network uses a dedicated connection that prioritizes private Internet traffic and data between multiple locations with a secure path for the exchange of information, delivery of services and applications without risking security and reliability. If your organization operates or plans to operate a multi-site business in geographically dispersed locations, and you need to secure your business data, PWAN was specifically designed to deliver privacy, centralized networks, and boost business productivity.
Execulink’s Private-WAN is a high-quality, high-performance, and fully managed private network solution. Businesses can quickly expand and connect new and existing networks from their head office, branch sites, and data centers into a single, secure solution. As their organization expands and migrates to the cloud and managed services they get the uptime, reliability, and flexibility they need regardless of their site locations.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN)
A Software-Defined Wide Area Networks is the latest network technology and approach to managing a WAN. SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that uses software to control connectivity, management, and services between a WAN. It allows organizations to leverage any combination of transport services – including MPLS, LTE, and broadband internet services to securely connect users to applications.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network is a secure, point-to-point connection between two network endpoints that allow users to connect to a central network remotely through the public Internet. Employees are able to work remotely from anywhere and connect to their company’s intranet so they have access to shared files from their office computers that they usually could only access while in the office. A VPN is a secure and reliable method of sharing information across multiple computer networks.
Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN)
An IP VPN is very similar to a VPN, connecting to your main network across an ISP, but the main difference is that it uses multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology to prioritize Internet traffic and avoid public gateways to increase security. This guarantees that mission-critical applications always get the bandwidth needed while less important traffic waits in line.
Prioritizing Internet traffic will help to better serve VoIP, video conferencing, and cloud services. If your business has multiple employees and branches that require remote and secure access to your company intranet to share sensitive data, an IP VPN is a great solution.
As you can see, the types of networks that are available for business are designed for specific business applications and models, so you must align the right solution with your current and future business goals.
Connect your business and branches to your customers with secure and reliable networking solutions from Execulink and transform how your business communicates. Call us at 1-877-561-6771 today or visit our Networking Solutions page to find the right network for your business.