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LAN (Local Area Network)

Definition: A combination of personal computers, servers, and communication devices

that are connected to share data files, resources and applications. A LAN is usually
located in close proximity, such as on the same floor or in the same or nearby buildings.


• In a typical LAN configuration, one computer is designated as the file server. It

stores all of the software that controls the network, as well as the software that can
be shared by the computers attached to the network.

• Computers connected to the file server are called workstations. The workstations
can be less powerful than the file server, and they may have additional software
on their hard drives.

• On many LANs, cables are used to connect the network interface cards in each
computer; other LANs may be wireless.


• Easy to share devices (printers, scanners, external drives)

• Easy to share data (homework, pictures.)
• Workstations do not necessarily need their own hard disk or CD-ROM drives
which make them cheaper to buy than stand-alone PCs.
• User can save their work centrally on the network file server. This means that
they can retrieve their work from any workstation on the network. They do not
need to go back to the same workstation all the time.
• Users can communicate with each other and transfer data between workstations
very easily.
• One copy of each application package such as a word processor, spreadsheet etc.
Can be loaded onto the file and shared by all users. When a new version comes
out, it only has to be loaded onto the server instead of onto every workstation.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

Definition: A communications network that uses such devices as telephone lines, satellite
dishes, or radio waves to span a larger geographic area than can be covered by a LAN.


• WANs are structured with irregular placement of the nodes.

• WAN consists of a number of interconnected switching nodes. Communication is
achieved by transmitting data from source to destination through these
intermediate switching nodes to the specified destination device.
• Traditionally, WANs have been implemented using one of two technologies:
circuit switching and packet switching. Recently, frame relay and ATM
networks have assumed major roles.
• Typical communication links used in WANs are telephone lines, microwave
links & satellite channels.


• Covers a large geographical area so long distance businesses can connect on the
one network
• Shares software and resources with connecting workstations
• Messages can be sent very quickly to anyone else on the network. These messages
can have pictures, sounds, or data included with them (called attachments).
• Expensive things (such as printers or phone lines to the internet) can be shared by
all the computers on the network without having to buy a different peripheral for
each computer.
• Everyone on the network can use the same data. This avoids problems where
some users may have older information than others.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

Definition: A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that interconnects users

with computer resources in a geographic area or region larger than that covered by even a
large local area network (LAN) but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network


• MAN is frequently used to provide a shared connection to other networks using a

link to a WAN.
• It usually falls between LAN and WAN. It is generally applied to connect
geographically dispersed LANs. Therefore the goal of MAN is to develop a
communication link between two independent LAN nodes.
• It is usually established using optical fiber. The network is established using
routers and switches.
• MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is usually operated over an area of up to

• MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) falls in between the LAN and WAN. It
therefore increases the efficiency of handling data while at the same time saves
the cost attached to establish a wide area network.
• It offers centralized management of data.
• It enables you to connect many fast LANs together.
• It often acts as a high speed network to allow sharing of regional resources.

CAN (Campus Area Network)

Definition: A campus area network (CAN) is a computer network interconnecting a few

local area networks (LANs) within a university campus or corporate campus.


• In this kind of networking, the same technology along with the hardware is used
in different buildings of one campus or one corporation.
• They follow the same terminologies like the local area networks but the difference
is that they are interconnected between the multiple buildings at the particular
• In Campus Area Networking (CAN) system the same type of hardware means that
routers, switches, hubs, cabling and even wireless connection points are same in
the multiple buildings. We can say that theses all networking resources are owned
by the same organization.