The Computer Revolution/Networks/LAN

  • What LAN is

LAN stands for local area network. A local area network represents a small or large area such as a building or even a class room . All the computers within a designated area are linked to the LAN and can access a common device such as a printer.

  • Where LAN is used

Local area networks are used in many different ways and in many different scenarios. For instance LAN can be within a large office building with more than thirty computers all in the same LAN. However LAN can be accommodated to smaller areas, such as setting up a LAN connection between two playstations for establishing a system link. This permits LAN to be used from small personal business's to large corporations. But requires proper installations and maintenance to allow LAN to properly run in a large scale operation.

As mentioned, LAN can be used within the home to not only connect several playstations together but also to link a number of personal computers in order to use the same periphery devices such as scanners, fax machines, and printers. Each of the personal computers can access data and other programs available on the LAN. Communication within the LAN can be done via e-mail or chat. Data transmission over the LAN is fast due to its relatively small geographic area allowing the units to be in close proximity as well as the limited number of units in the network.

LANs can be configured using cables and multiple LANs can be connected using routers.

An example of a LAN. Who wants to play a game?

Reference: Morely, Deborah and Charles Parker. "Understanding Computers Today and Tomorrow" 13th Edition

  • Why LAN is used

LAN is used depending on the application that is needed. Using LAN for an entire company that is spread world wide is just not practical. However where LAN becomes useful is when it allows a certain number of computers to all belong to the same network and communicate within that network. This allows LAN to become a more accessible and quicker way of communication, with very little chance of any delay. Although this is not to say a user cannot experience delay through LAN. As the number of computers increases on a certain LAN, the speed of the resulting connection begins to become diluted.

  • An alternative to LAN

An alternative to LAN would be WAN, WAN stands for wide area network and in principle works like LAN. But on a much larger scale. WAN also incorporates many LAN connections and can identify with the internet. However LAN and WAN do have there differences in speed, reliability and access.