What is a Network in Embedded Systems? – Different Types of Networks

You must have gone through these words: LAN, WAN, and MAN; more often, all these refer to networks. So, what is a network? A “network” is a generic term that refers to a group of entities like objects, peoples, etc., that are connected.
Thus, a network allows material or immaterial elements to be spread among all of these entities, based on well-defined rules. There are different types of networks that are commonly used in communication. Therefore, let us see what is the importance of a network in an embedded system.

Sensor Network
Sensor Network

As embedded systems are becoming more and more complex, the knowledge about various disciplines like data processing, electronics, telecommunications, and networks becomes mandatory for all. Nowadays, “network” plays a prominent role in embedded systems. A proper understanding of networks is also equally important.
For example – routers, gateways, remote process controllers, and sensor networks interact with the networks.

What are network and networking?

Network: In a network, a group of computers and peripheral devices are connected. The smallest possible network is the one in which two computers are connected.
Networking: Networking is nothing but implementing tools and tasks for linking computers so that they can share resources over the network.

Different Types of Communication Networks

Different types of communication networks involve the use of different types of physical transmission media like electrical pulses, light beam or electromagnetic waves.

Telephone Network

A telephone network is a communication network used for transmission and reception of voice signals. Different types of telephone networks include a fixed-line network and wireless network.


In a fixed-line network, the telephones must be directly connected through a wire to a single telephone exchange.

Telephone Network
Telephone Network

A wireless network is involved in telephones or mobile communications. This network can be used or moved around anywhere within the coverage area. The wireless network is used to control different types of embedded applications, such as railway level crossing gates, fraud alert systems, flash flood information and billing information systems, etc.

Computer Network

A computer network is a group of computers linked together with physical lines exchanging information as digital data (binary values, i.e., values encoded as a signal – which may represent either 0 or 1). The links (connections) between nodes are established using either a cable media or wireless media. The best example of a computer network is the internet.

Computer Network
Computer Network

Computer network devices initiating, routing and terminating data are called network nodes. The nodes include hosts such as servers and personal computers. The computer network supports different types of applications such as access to the World Wide Web, shared use of applications, and messaging applications and so on.

Why networks are important?

A computer is a machine used to manipulate and process data. Linking of computers is essential for exchanging information in communication. So, this explains our query about what is a network in terms of computers.

A computer network can serve several different purposes like the ones given below:

  • Provides resource sharing (sharing of files, applications or hardware, an Internet connection, etc.)
  • Provides Communication support (email, live discussions, etc.)
  • Processes Communication (communication between industrial computers)
  • Provides access to information: Guarantees full access to information for a specified group of people through networked databases
  • Supports Multiplayer video games
Network Importance
Network Importance

Networks are also used for standardizing applications. The term groupware is generally used to refer to the tools that let multiple people work over a network. For example, email and group scheduling can be used to communicate more quickly and efficiently.

Such systems offer the following advantages:

  • Lower costs due to sharing of data and peripherals
  • Standardize applications
  • Provide timely access to data
  • Offer more efficient communication and organization

What is the network’s importance in an embedded system?

The embedded system was originally designed to work on a single device. However, in the current scenario, the implementation of different networking options has increased the overall performance of the embedded system in terms of economy as well as technical considerations.
The most efficient types of the network used in the embedded system are BUS network and an Ethernet network.
A BUS is used to connect different network devices and to transfer a huge range of data, for example, serial bus, I2C bus, CAN bus, etc.
The Ethernet type network works with the TCP/IP protocol.
Examples of embedded networking include CAN, I2C, Component, sensor, and serial bus networking.

Embedded Networking
Embedded Networking

What types of networks are used in the embedded system?

Telecommunication systems make use of numerous embedded systems ranging from telephone switches for the network to mobile phones at the end-user.
Computer networking uses dedicated routers and Network Bridge to route data.
The Advanced HVAC system uses networked thermostats for more accurate and efficient control of temperature that may change during a day or season.
The home automation system uses wired and wireless networking to control lights, climate, security, audio and so on.

Different types of networks generally have the following points in common:

  • Servers: These are computers that provide the main information.
  • Clients: These are computers or other devices that get access to shared resources.
  • Connection medium: Connection medium defines the interlinking of different devices.
  • Shared data: It refers to the information that is transmitted in a network and received by the clients.
  • Printers and other shared peripherals: Peripherals (devices) that are connected to the client machines for processing and obtaining the information.

We hope we have been able to answer your query about what is a network in embedded terminology and also about its importance. So, here is a simple question for you:
What are the different types of network topologies used in communication?
Kindly forward your answers and also your feedback regarding this article in the comment section given below.

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