One way to categorize the different types of computer network designs is by their scope or scale. For historical reasons, the networking industry refers to nearly every type of design as some kind of area network. Common examples of area network types are:
- LAN – Local Area Network
- WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network
- WAN – Wide Area Network
- MAN – Metropolitan Area Network
- SAN – Storage Area Network, System Area Network, Server Area Network, or sometimes Small Area Network
- CAN – Campus Area Network, Controller Area Network, or sometimes Cluster Area Network
- PAN – Personal Area Network
- DAN – Desk Area Network
LAN and WAN were the original categories of area networks, while the others have gradually emerged over many years of technology evolution.
Note that these network types are a separate concept from network topologies such as bus, ring and star.