Network Infrastructure definition & meaning
Network Infrastructure is a system that includes hardware and software allowing users, services, applications, and processes to communicate with each other. It is considered as a part of the IT infrastructure in enterprise IT environments. Network infrastructure can be used for both internal and external communications.
Network infrastructure is very important because it is the most crucial part of an IT infrastructure to enable connection and communication, which are extremely critical for businesses. Thus, most global organizations are always looking for new ways to improve their network infrastructure to provide a robust, secure, and clean experience.
The components of a network infrastructure
- Networking hardware, such as routers
- LAN cards
- Wireless routers, and cables
- Networking software, such as network operations and management, operating systems
- Firewall, and network security applications
- Network services, such as T-1 line
- Wireless protocols
- IP addressing
Types of Network Infrastructure
There are 3 types of network infrastructure commonly used, local area network, metropolitan area network, and wide area network.
Local area network
Local area network, or LAN for short, connects network devices together by a switch or stack of switches. It uses a private addressing scheme defined by the TCP/IP protocol for the group of computers and devices connected. Each device has its own unique private address in the network. The local area networks are connected to WAN with routers. LANs are privately owned and cover a small area, such as an office building, home, hospital, etc.
Metropolitan area network
Metropolitan area networks, or MAN, cover a larger area than LANs. MAN can connect devices in a large geographical area and serves as an internet service provider. It is designed for users who need high-speeds but it is also hard to design and maintain, and it is also a costly solution. MAN can be owned by a single organization.
Wide area network
A wide area network, or WAN, covers a large geographical area. WANs are mostly established by internet service providers. Without a WAN, organizations can’t access the internet and they could only use their own LAN infrastructure. WANs facilitate communication between devices around the world.