1.4 NETWORKS

A network can be considered as a series of computers connected together physically or virtually. The internet connects together a set of networks which are also called nodes, when they abstract a set of computers (or even other nodes) together. A network can be referred to as a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), or a metropolitan area network (MAN) depending on the geographic range it spans. A LAN is normally confined to a limited geographic area, such as a building, and comprises from as few as three to as many as hundreds of computers. A WAN, by contrast, is a combination of multiple LANs that are geographically separate. The largest network of all is, of course, the Internet.

Packet switching technology allows ...

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