What is a LAN

LAN stands for Local Area Network. It is a group of computer within a small network covering small areas. This small area can be a house, office or may be a school. The number of computers connected on a LAN may be up to several hundred but generally LANs are made up of about dozen machines only. LAN shares a common communication line or wireless link.

The connected devices shares resources of a single processor or server within a small area such as an office building. LAN is relatively smaller as compared to WAN (Wide Area Network). LAN provides networking capabilities to a group of computers which can be useful for sharing resources such as files, printers, games or other applications. A LAN can also connect to other LANs and also to the internet or other WAN.

Some of the advantages of LAN are that it provides high network speeds and data transfer rates. It provides protection from the outside world and thus results in creation of a trusted computing environment. Firewalls protect LANs and provide secure computing environment. It also eliminates the need to lease telecommunication lines, such as those used for telephone, data and Internet services.

Most LANs connect workstations and personal computers. Each individual computer in a LAN has its own CPU with which it executes programs, but it also is able to access data and devices anywhere on the LAN. This allows in sharing of expensive devices such as laser printers or hi tech scanners which a small organization cannot afford in multiples. In organizations, LANs are also used to communicate with each other by sending e-mails or through chat sessions.

Main Characteristic Features of LAN includes the size of the network, topology of LAN (can be bus, ring, hybrid, star etc…), technology used for transmission. In simple LAN configuration, a single cable runs through the entire set up and computers are attached to the cable. Modern LAN cables are capable of much higher data transfer per second. Most of the LANs run under Ethernet.

A PC-based local area network (LAN) is a high-speed and has good fault tolerant data network that connects servers, workstations, computers, printers and other connectivity devices that are located in close distance to one another (may be in a same building or in a group of buildings).

Thus LANs provides the users with a number of advantages and today LAN network is used every day in most of the occupations.

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