A network can be useful in animation because many components enter the process. A visual network can help represent many things like scenes, effects, composition and textures.
the Xsheet and timeline enhance the element display, but they may not be the most efficient for some production aspects. The Xsheet provides traditional animation details, displaying drawing names, values, exposures and timing. The timeline displays all of the timing, drawing exposures, keyframes and trajectories in a schematic view to provide a quick overview of the whole scene, enabling you to easily detect different elements. When it is time for advanced hierarchy, compositing, effects filters, grouping, and cutters, a timeline can get overloaded and may not have the capacity to represent the reality of things.
For greater efficiency, a network is brought in to visually represent all of the parenting, hierarchy, effects and element compositing. There is no timing representation or drawing name, but a visual set of links or cables between the elements that are represented as boxes or nodes. It helps the eye follow very quickly to what is happening in the scene. Also, because of the linking power available, a network allows more advanced connections and parenting than a timeline.
Elements can be combined using effect nodes or composite nodes and turned into something new. Elements can cut others or control other ones. In the end, all elements are brought into a composite node to turn all drawings, layers, parameters and effects into the final animation output.