What Is LAN (Local Area Network)? Here Is an Introduction! [MiniTool Wiki]
What Is LAN
What is LAN? LAN is the abbreviation of local area network. The LAN contains cables, access points, switches, routers, and other components that enable devices to connect to internal servers, web servers, and other LANs through a wide area network.
Local area networks are usually limited to a small area (usually a building), but this is not a strict requirement. This area may be your home or small business, and may only contain some equipment. It may also be a larger area, such as an entire office building containing hundreds or thousands of devices.
What Are the Benefits of LAN
The advantages of a LAN are the same as the advantages of any group of devices networked together. These devices can use a single Internet connection, share files, print to a shared printer, and even access and control each other.
Although people have always been well aware of the benefits of connecting devices to the network, it was not until the widespread deployment of Wi-Fi technology that LANs became commonplace in almost every type of environment. Nowadays, not only companies and schools use LAN, but also restaurants, coffee shops, shops, and homes.
Wireless connectivity also greatly expands the types of devices that can be connected to the LAN. Now, almost everything imaginable can be "connected", from PCs, printers, and phones to smart TVs, stereos, speakers, lighting, thermostats, curtains, door locks, security cameras-even coffee machines, refrigerators, and toy.
What Are the Types
There are two different types of local area networks - client/server LANs and peer-to-peer LANs.
The client/server LAN consists of multiple devices (clients) connected to a central server. The server manages file storage, application access, device access, and network traffic. The client can be any connected device that runs or accesses applications or the Internet. The client connects to the server via a cable or wireless connection.
Generally, the application suite can be kept on the LAN server. Users can access databases, e-mail, document sharing, printing, and other services through applications running on the LAN server, and read and write access rights are maintained by the network or IT administrator. Most media to large enterprises, government, research, and education networks are based on client/server LANs.
Peer-to-peer LANs do not have a central server and cannot handle heavy workloads like client/server LANs, so they are usually small. On a peer-to-peer LAN, each device is equally divided in network functions. These devices share resources and data through wired or wireless connections with switches or routers. Most home networks are peer-to-peer.
What Kinds of Technology Are Used in a LAN
The type of technology used in the LAN depends on the number of devices and services provided on the network. Regardless of the size, the two basic connection types used on modern LANs are ethernet cables and wifi.
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On a typical home or small office LAN, you may find a modem that provides an Internet connection (and a basic firewall to prevent intrusions from the Internet), a router, and Wi-Fi access points that allow other devices to share the connection and connect so that the device can access the network wirelessly.
Sometimes these functions are combined into one device. For example, many ISPs provide a combination unit that serves as a modem, router, and wireless access point. Sometimes, you may also find devices called switches that allow you to split a single Ethernet connection into multiple connection points.
What does LAN stand for? Now, you may have got the answer. To sum up, this post introduces the definition, benefits as well as types of LAN (local area network). I hope that this post can be helpful to you.