A local Area Network (LAN) is a computer network covering a small physical area, like a home, office, or small group of buildings, such as a school, or an airport.
The characteristics of LANs:
- LAN’s enable the sharing of resources such as files or hardware devices that may be needed by multiple users
- Is limited in size, typically spanning a few hundred meters, and no more than a mile
- It is fast, with speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.
- Requires little wiring, typically a single cable connecting to each device
- Has lower cost compared to MAN’S or WAN’s LAN’s can be either wired or wireless Twisted pair, coaxial or fiber optic cable can be used in wired LAN’s.
- Every LAN uses a protocol -a set of rules that governs how packets are configured and transmitted.
- Nodes in a LAN are linked together with a certain topology. These topologies include: Bus, Ring, Star
- LANs are capable of very high transmission rates (100s Mb/s to G b/s)
Metropolitan area network:
A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that connects two or more local area networks together but does not extend beyond the boundaries of the town/city.
- A MAN is covers larger geographical area than a LAN, ranging from several blocks of buildings to entire cities.
- A MAN might be owned and operated by a single organization, but it usually will be used by many individuals and organizations.
- A MAN often acts as a high speed network to allow sharing of regional resources.
- A MAN typically covers an area of between 5 and 50 km diameter.
- Examples of MAN: Telephone company network that provides a high-speed DSL to customers and cable TV network.
Wide area network:
A wide area network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a broad area. The largest and most well-known example of a WAN is the Internet. A WAN is a data communications network that covers a relatively broad geographic area (i.e. one city to another and one country to another country).
- To cover great distances, WANs may transmit data over leased high, speed phone lines or wireless links such as satellites.
- Multiple LANs can be connected together using devices such as bridges, routers, or gateways, which enable them to share data.
- It operates on a low data transfer rate.