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Access Networks

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An access network is a type of network which physically connects an end system to the immediate router (also known as the “edge router”) on a path from the end system to any other distant end system. Examples of access networks are ISP, home networks, enterprise networks, ADSL, mobile network, FTTH etc. 

Types of access networks:

  • Ethernet – It is the most commonly installed wired LAN technology and it provides services on the Physical and Data Link Layer of OSI reference model. Ethernet LAN typically uses coaxial cable or twisted pair wires.
  • DSL – DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and DSL brings a connection into your home through telephone lines and a DSL line can carry both data and voice signals and the data part of the line is continuously connected. In DSL you are able to use the Internet and make phone calls simultaneously. DSL modem uses the telephone lines to exchange data with digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAMs). In DSL we get 24 Mbps downstream and 2.5 Mbps upstream.
  • FTTH – Fiber to the home (FTTH) uses optical fiber from a central Office (CO) directly to individual buildings and it provides high-speed Internet access among all access networks.It ensures high initial investment but lesser future investment and it is the most expensive and most future-proof option amongst all these access networks.
  • Wireless LANs – It links two or more devices using wireless communication within a range. It uses high-frequency radio waves and often include an access point for connecting to the Internet.
  • 3G and LTE – It uses cellular telephony to send or receive packets through a nearby base station operated by the cellular network provider. The term “3G internet” refers to the third generation of mobile phone standards as set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Long Term Evolution (LTE) offers high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and increased network capacity.
  • Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) – HFC is a combination of fiber optic and coaxial cable that is widely used by cable television operators to provide high-speed internet access. The fiber optic cable is used to connect the headend to the neighborhood, while the coaxial cable is used to connect individual homes to the network.
  • Satellite Internet – Satellite internet is a wireless connection that uses satellite communication to deliver internet access to remote and rural areas. It has a higher latency and lower bandwidth compared to other access networks, but it can provide internet access in areas where other options are not available.
  • Power Line Communication (PLC) – PLC uses the existing electrical wiring in a building to transmit data signals. It is a low-cost alternative to traditional wired networks and can be used to provide internet access in buildings where it is difficult to install new cables.
  • WiMAX – WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless access network technology that provides high-speed internet access over a wide area. It is commonly used in rural and suburban areas where it is difficult or expensive to deploy wired networks.
  • 5G – 5G is the latest wireless communication technology that offers high-speed internet access and increased network capacity. It is designed to support a wide range of applications, including virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities. 5G networks are being rolled out globally, and they are expected to transform the way we connect to the internet.
  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is a wireless access network technology that allows devices to connect to a local area network (LAN) or the Internet using radio waves. It is commonly used in homes, offices, public places, and other areas where people need wireless internet access.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a short-range wireless communication technology that is used to connect devices within a limited range, typically up to 30 feet. It is commonly used to connect mobile phones, laptops, and other devices to speakers, headphones, and other accessories.
  • Wi-Fi Direct: Wi-Fi Direct is a technology that allows devices to connect to each other without the need for a wireless access point or network. It is commonly used to transfer files and other data between devices in close proximity.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): NFC is a wireless communication technology that allows devices to exchange data when they are held close together. It is commonly used for mobile payments, access control, and other applications where security is important.
  • ZigBee: ZigBee is a wireless communication technology that is used for low-power, low-speed applications such as home automation, industrial control, and sensor networks. It is designed to be simple, reliable, and easy to use.
  • LoRaWAN: LoRaWAN is a wireless communication technology that is used for long-range, low-power applications such as smart cities, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. It is designed to be low-cost, low-power, and easy to deploy in remote or hard-to-reach areas.
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Last Updated : 18 Apr, 2023
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