extent/distance 100m-1km floor, building, campus up to 1000s km
speed/bandwidth 10, 100, 1000 Mbps, 10Gbps 56Kbps, 128Kbps, 1Mbps, 1.5Mbps, 10 Mbps
ownership you buy it, you manage it them (telephone, cable companies, telco "service provider"
connection type
  • shared medium (bus Ethernet, WiFi)
  • switched Ethernet
  • point-to-point links
  • virtual circuits (VC, PVC)
use connect nearby computers into one network connect far-apart networks
  • 802.3 Ethernet
  • 802.11 WiFi
  • Internet access: POTS, ISDN, xDSL, cable modem
  • interoffice link: T1, T3, Frame Relay
  • intra-telco: ATM SONET optical
  • VPN (securely use Internet as WAN link)

PAN personal area network. Connect devices to computer. Bluetooth.

MAN metropolitan area network. Connect networks in a city or campus. Telco-provided fiber service or line-of-sight antennas.