Computer Network vs Data Communication: 13 Differences

A computer network indicates the group of computers that are connected together through either wired or wireless means.

Data communication refers to the transfer process which includes transferring of digital data between the computers.

This article will also tell you about all the major differences between them.


  • There are different types of computer networking used to process the electronic as well as digital medium of communication and data transmission.
  • A computer network plays one of the most significant roles to facilitate any kind of electronic communication but data communication involves different methods and technologies for the same purpose.
  • Through a computer network files and information along with data is usually transferred from one location to another but data communication uses different processes to communicate data.

Computer Network vs Data Communication – The 13 Differences

Computer Network and Data Communication

1. Definition

A computer network refers to the group or a series of computer systems as well as other related hardware devices that are connected with each other by using different communication channels.

This helps in using the network to carry out proper communication processes and associated networking methods.

On the other hand, data communication typically refers to the transmission process which involves transferring digital data among two or more computer systems or any other similar type of devices.

2. Meaning

A computer network is just a division of data communication. Ideally, computer networking is just one of the processes of transferring data across several devices and locations.

On the other hand, data communication is a much broader aspect and a wider umbrella that covers computer networking.

3. Nodes and Mediums

A computer network primarily involves single node communication through different layouts.

On the other hand, data communication involves transferring data across several nodes and across different mediums.

4. Process Followed

A computer network uses different inter-phases and sharing processes to transfer information and data across the interconnected nodes.

On the other hand, data communication uses all inter-related methods to transfer data and information to the related devices.

5. Basic Performance          

The basic function of the computer network is to transfer information and data to different devices connected in a network.

It is considered to be one of the best known methodologies of networking across different geographies.

On the other hand, data communication refers to the process of transferring data and communicating across different nodes or computers that helps in networking technologies.

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6. Architectural Performance

There are many different types of architectural layers that the computer networks can be described as such as client-server architecture, Peer-to-Peer architecture and hybrid architecture.

All these architectures primarily depend on the interconnected layers.

On the other hand, data communication primarily uses three layers of architectural designs as well but along with that it also works on the multi-node transmission and communication with them across different regions.

7. Geographical Performance

A computer network works through different geographies across a wide range of locations which may be even spread across different cities.

It therefore allows to template its performance on the basis of different layers of networking.

On the other hand, there are only three different layers of structures used by data communication and diverse magnetic multimedia as well.

The level of performance depends on the twisted pair cable which is used typically to move data through different layers and cables in order to communicate.

8. Performance Testing

In a computer network, direct interrelated testing and data binding process performance testing can be easily done.

On the other hand, data communication does not allow doing such performance testing easily.

9. Routing Performance

From the routing perspective, a computer network is less preferable because it uses a two-way binding process. This makes it a bit more complex in comparison to data communication.

On the other hand, data communication is not data binding and therefore is much easier and simpler from the routing point of view.

10. Transmission Performance

A computer network uses different methods for data transmission across different regions and locations.

On the other hand, data communication follows three layers of data transmission approaches along with different sets of wireless technologies for the same.

11. Components

The different important components of a computer network include and are not limited to clients, servers, Network Interface Card or NIC, transmission media, switch, network operating system, hub, routers, protocol suite, shared data, connecting devices, cables and others.

On the other hand, the important components of data communication are sender, receiver, transmission media, message, and protocol.

12. Data Exchange Modes

In a computer network data exchange takes place in different modes and it all depends on the type of network which includes and is not limited to LAN, MAN, WAN, PAN, WLAN, VPN and others.

Read Also:  5 Differences Between NIC and Ethernet

On the other hand, the data exchange modes followed in data communications are simplex mode, half-duplex mode, and full-duplex mode.

13. Fields

A computer network refers to the design architecture of different networks to connect devices on the basis of the different mediums which deal with the analysis of data traffic over that medium.

It focuses on preserving and developing protocols in order to make communication more secure and efficient.

On the other hand, data communication refers to the specific field which defines the medium of communication of two devices.

It is more on the electronic side of the field which involves waves, Radio Frequency and more.

Which is More Important – Computer Network or Data Communication?

Computer Network vs Data Communication

Now that you know about the differences between data communication and a computer network, you may wonder which among the two methods of data transfer is more important and good to follow in today’s scenario.

In plain and simple words, data communication is based on a few specific standards that ideally determine the way in which the devices connected and related will communicate with and understand each other.

And, a computer network is the way in which you will interconnect those devices in order to send or receive data to and from each.

Therefore, it is very clear that both are important to achieve your ultimate goal, which is to communicate or transfer data across devices.

In today’s scenario, considering the software industry standard and the market, there are diverse forms of computer networks that can be implemented. Some of the most commonly used setups are:

  • Local Area Network or LAN
  • Wide Area Network or WAN
  • Home Area Network or HAN
  • Metropolitan Area Network or MAN
  • Personal Area Networks or PAN
  • Global Area Networks or GAN
  • Enterprise Private Network
  • Campus Networks
  • Internet and
  • Internetworks.

All these different setups serve the same purpose of communicating with different interconnected devices.

The output is more customized since it is transformed into a single device.

Typically, there are different aspects that fall under computer networking such as:

  • Topologies
  • Network design
  • Network architecture
  • Network policies
  • Network security
  • Network analysis and more.

Moreover, the file sharing features in a computer network is used in a much easier and more convenient way which also facilitates moving web information in a much easier and more convenient manner.

There are different communication processes that can be implemented in different ways such as through:

  • Email
  • Messaging
  • Video chat box and others.
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While computer networking refers to a setup that relies on a technical medium to transfer data, data communication is an independent process and does not need to rely on the technical medium, geographical locations or inter-phases.

There are different technologies and approaches used with the sole purpose of establishing an electronic communication of any kind.

Data communication, in comparison, is a process of communicating between different nodes by transacting data among them through different physical mediums.

During the process it can be singled out through different processes and signals.

In order to communicate, both digital and analog data may be transferred.

For this, two specific types of signals are used for each. These are:

  • Analog signals that are typically uninterrupted waveforms in nature and can travel through different mediums using electromagnetic waves and
  • Digital signals that are primarily discrete in nature and signifies varied voltage pulses that are mostly related to the interconnected circuit system.

Typically, the important technologies used for data communication are:

  • Telecommunications
  • Computer networking and communication methodologies and
  • Satellite communication.

Ideally, when you consider data communication it is usually these three different transmission techniques that it primarily depends on, and, as you can see, computer networking is one of those methods.

Moreover, both digital and electronic data is transferred through computer networking for communicating any specific information to different media and geographies.

This shows that are very important today since one complements the other.

Both these technologies have their characteristic importance in isolation but surely are inter-related to each other which make them equally important both in the software as well as in the communication industries.


As you can see, both computer networking and data communication are two different transmission methods for communication.

With the knowledge you gained from this article, you now know for sure which among the two types of communications will be more suitable for you.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin

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