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This content is part of the Essential Guide: Essential guide to business continuity and disaster recovery plans

local area network (LAN)

Contributor(s): Diana Hwang

A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and peripheral devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server within a distinct geographic area. A local area network may serve as few as two or three users in a home-office or several hundred users in a corporation’s central office. Home owners and information technology (IT) administrators set up LANs so that network nodes can share resources such as printers or network storage.

LAN networking requires cables, switches, routers and other components that let users connect to internal servers, websites and other LANs that belong to the same wide area network (WAN). Ethernet and Wi-Fi are the two primary ways to enable LAN connections. Ethernet is a specification that enables computers to communicate with each other. Wi-Fi uses radio waves to connect computers to the LAN.

Other LAN technologies, including Token Ring, fiber distributed data interface (FIDDI and ARCNET lost favor as Ethernet and Wi-Fi speeds increased and connectivity costs decreased.

Understanding local area networking

Thomas Willingham and Christopher Chapman from Microsoft Virtual Acadamy explain the fundamentals of a local area network.

In many situations, a wireless LAN, may be preferable to a wired LAN connection because of its flexibility and cost. Companies assessing WLANs as primary means of connectivity often have users who rely exclusively on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to do work.

The rise of virtualization has also fueled the development of virtual LANs, which allows network administrators to logically group network nodes and partition their networks without the need for major infrastructure changes.

Setting up a basic local area network

Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X have networking capabilities incorporated into them. This means that as long as the network administrator has a relatively up-to-date laptop or desktop PC, it is fairly straightforward to network machines together.

To set up a wireless network, the administrator will need a wireless router linked to a broadband connection and an Ethernet cable that links the router to the main PC or server.

This will then allow other computing devices which already have wireless networking equipment integrated or attached to them, to pick up wireless signals and join the local area network.

LAN security

Once the network has been set up, it must be secured. This can be done through security settings in the router, the use of strong passwords and frequent software updates. Hardware-based security such as fingerprint recognition, security tokens and full disk encryption can also be used to enhance network security. Additional security packages for protecting and maintaining the network perimeter can be installed locally or purchased through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model.

LAN topologies

Network topologies outline how devices in a LAN are connected, as well as how data is transmitted from one node to another. Popular topologies include:

This was last updated in July 2019

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I get so much information LAN, WAN, firewall etc. can easily to under stand process.
Local area networking chering the information by the groupe who from in side the some area
Well, not anytime in the near future, no. In our buildings we have a noticeable decrease in performance when using wireless as compared to a wired connection. It is also less reliable, sometimes dropping connections. When I'm working on site, I definitely prefer to have an ethernet connection. Then there's the quirks of the wireless adapter in my laptop - it doesn't want to connect to the wireless LAN for 5-10 minutes. Such a pain!
Eventually - I would expect that in a decade the percentage of wired will be confined to dedicated systems and the core data center but that the preponderance of clients is all wireless.  And the nature of wireless will have changed from WiFi to LiFi as a generation of lighting gets changed out and rapid pulsed LED systems replace conventional building lighting.

For the near term - next 5 years - I see all mobile clients moving to WiFi - while desktops remain wired.
Not unless/until the throughput and signal challenges improve. I've experienced the slowness/frustration of 2.4GHz wireless and have since moved on to 5GHz. The latter is *much* faster but the signal propagation stinks. Neither are anywhere near Gigabit Ethernet in terms of speed and reliability.
For the most part, it already has. Both in our main office and on our short-term locations (where most of our work takes place), most of our desks survive on wireless.

I say that without any great joy - too many others have already noted that wireless is quirky and far less than dependable. But there it is and it (mostly) works. And, for our needs, it (mostly) serves its purpose.

OTOH, we would love to be entirely wireless. We need that kind of  flexibility and instant setup in our work. At this point we can get by if we must, but we're still looking for the next generation that will make wireless much faster, more consistent and highly efficient.
LAN is a Computer network that spans over a small area. it connects computer and workstation to share data and resources such as printers or faxes. LAN is restricted to a small area such as home, office or collage
Having been trying to run this networking as a manager but don't seem to understand or get in touch with the procedures... I mean what are the requirements?
I'm all about a clean office, don't really like cable connections. If only this Wi-Fi tech would be improved for more efficiency, it would greatly help.
why'd you like it clean
is it true that an institute like Makerere university can have all it's departments and faculties through LAN?
A local-area network (LAN) is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most often, a LAN is confined to a single room, building or group of buildings, however, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves.
Do you think wireless LANs will replace Ethernet for your organization?
No. Far too many companies do not want to have deal with added security issues of Wireless Networks.
I think that LAN is very bad 
What used protocols wireless LAN and wired LAN?
I like this definition. It is simple and easy!
No, Ethernet connection is better than LAN
wired connection is a lot better than wireless, as wireless sends info through the air and it can be corrupted or lost, wired connection is better as it sends info from the router right to the device you are using
ouyg o ucrf 2ofr
So Guys, we did it. We reached a quarter of a million subscribers. 250,000 and still growing.

first of all your design site is amazing i also want networking  and website.

is it blog or site
What is a LAN in simple terms?
And what can it be used for?
Local Area Network
It is used for sharing file and computer accessories like printer, fax, scanner and etc...
I really appreciate your efforts to share valueable information. Best Regards.


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