What is Local Area Network (LAN)?

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LAN represents “Local Area Network”. LAN means that it works like a private network because the LAN is a group of computers and other connected nodes, and they can transfer data between the whole network.


The local area network was developed to work in small areas such as shopping malls, offices, campuses, etc. The primary purpose of using a LAN is to share resources (printer, fax, drawing, etc.) with multiple budgets and data exchanges.

Types of Local Area Networks (LAN)

There are several types of LAN technologies in the computer networking industry. How? ‘Or’ What –

Ethernet is the most popular and the most useful for common computers.

Operation of the Apple Macintosh network depends on the AppleTalk network system built into Macintosh computers.

There are two types of LAN connections;

LAN Client/Server: in which several different types of devices (clients) are connected to a centralized server machine, and this server can handle various activities such as data storage, access to printers and plotters, and network traffic. A wired or wireless medium interconnects the clients and the server.

Peer-to-peer LAN: in which a centralized server machine is not required, so it cannot bear a large load compared to a client/server LAN. In this concept, each computer and other devices are connected in parallel.

LAN differs from other networks by the name of its features, such as;

Topology: A topology is a geometric representation of a network system because, in the name of this topological system, several computers are interconnected by cables or wireless. For example, star topology, bus topology, ring topology, mesh topology, hybrid topology, etc.

Protocol: A protocol is an assemblage of rules that help encrypt all specifications for sending and receiving data over a network. It also checks all types of errors and the data compression system. Some protocols are PPP, FTP, TCP / IP, HTTP and others.

Communication media: Two types of media are used in a local area network to establish connections between different devices, such as wired and wireless media. In a wired medium for use with specific cables such as twisted pair cables, coaxial cables or optical fibres.

Advantages of LAN (Local Area Network)

There are several advantages of a LAN, each explains below:

Features and Benefits of LAN

  • Resource Sharing: LAN provides excellent opportunities to share resources such as a printer, modem, plotter, scanner and more.
  • Software Sharing: LAN allows you to use a single software program with multiple interconnected computers. Therefore, it is not necessary to purchase a separate licensed application program for each client computer.
  • Easy and fast communication: In a local area network (LAN), vast amounts of data and other types of messages can be easily shared with another computer terminal connected to the network.
  • Cost-effective: A local area network (LAN) is cheaper to install and maintain than others like WAN and MAN because the LAN system does not require large cables or other infrastructure. Due to the local nature of the LAN, troubleshooting and maintenance are easy.
  • Centralized storage: all data and messages are stored on storage media in a centralized server machine. Allows all users to access this data online.
  • Data Protection: All data is stored on a local server computer, and it is not an easy task to filter this data. This makes the LAN more secure.
  • Internet Sharing: A local area network (LAN) provides excellent functionality for sharing an Internet connection with multiple users connected to the LAN.
  • Computer Identification: Each computer has its own MAC address which is stored in a switch or router during communication between multiple computers. Using these MAC addresses, each client machine can identify where to send and receive all data.

Other advantages of LAN

  • All LAN setups have a small region, so it is an easy task to manage that network.
  • It is easy to configure the LAN due to the network operating system.
  • The LAN has a high speed with compatible Ethernet cables. For example, in the modern version of Ethernet.
  • Supports speeds of up to Gigabit per second.
  • Some security protocols provide excellent security against intruders.
  • Due to its excellent speed, it offers high productivity for small or large organizations.
  • It is an excellent stable network compared to others like WAN, MAN, PAN, etc.

Disadvantages of LAN (Local Area Network)

There are some limitations of LANs, such as:

  • Geographic region constraint: LANs are mostly connected in small areas, such as small buildings, schools, college campuses, etc.
  • Security issue: If your computer with a centralized server is not configured correctly, the security of your data may be lost. Thus, the intruder can profit and access your data. If a computer is infected with viruses, it can easily replicate the entire network.
  • Server Dependency: If the centralized server computer shuts down at some point, the whole LAN system can work properly. Thus, the entire LAN depends on a central server machine.
  • Initially, LAN configuration is expensive: To establish a LAN, there must be special types of software, such as a network operating system and other network hardware components, such as hubs, repeaters, and other network hardware. , switches, cables, etc. Therefore, these hardware and software components of the network are expensive.
  • Confidentiality disturbed: The administrator of the local network is authorized to view all the data of each connected user.

Examples/use of LAN

LAN allows you to store data on any central computer from where it can be shared across the organization.

Uploading and downloading files is comfortable over a LAN (local area network) because backups are stored on a single server. It is therefore widely used in the following scenarios:

LAN is used in various local areas like;

  • House Usage: LAN provides access to shared files of all members of the house via an Internet connection.
  • Small Office Usage: The LAN can also be used in small offices over a wireless or wired network and provides access to all information on the network.
  • School Area Usage: LAN is an instrumental technology in school because through its use, students can learn online through an Internet connection.
  • Campus Area Usage: On campus, all students and teachers can connect their laptops or smartphones to the Internet via WiFi technology.
  • Integrated Systems: An integrated system means that some equipment operates automatically, such as a microwave oven and other automatic toys. The LAN system is mainly integrated with this kind of equipment so that they can be easily connected through WIFI system.

Some other examples are:

  • Public areas: such as a cafeteria, a complex shopping centre and much more.
  • Medical laboratory
  • In a nuclear power system to control multiple equipment and processes.
  • Smart TV is also a good example.
  • Two computer networks

What is a Virtual LAN?

Virtual LANs or VLANs are a way to share traffic on the same physical network into two networks. Imagine setting up two independent local networks in the same room, each with its own router and its Internet connection.

VLANs are like that, but they are almost shared using software, not physically using hardware; all you need is a router with an internet connection.

VLANs help manage the network, especially with extensive local networks. Network sharing makes it much easier for administrators to manage a network. (VLANs are very different from subnets, which is another way to share networks for greater efficiency.)

What is the difference amid a LAN and a WAN?

Wide area network or WAN is a collection of connected LANs. It is a vast network of local networks. The WAN can be any size and even thousands of kilometres wide; not limited to a specific area.

How are LANs connected to the rest of the Internet?

The Internet is a network of networks; LANs are mostly connected to a much more extensive network, an autonomous system (AS).

ASes are extensive networks with their policies of routing and control over specific IP addresses. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an example of an AS.

Imagine a LAN as a small network, connecting to a much more extensive network, connecting to other vast networks, all of which contain LANs.

This is the Internet and two computers connected to two different local networks.

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