What Makes a LAN a LAN and a WAN a WAN

LAN and WAN are two terms that can be used to describe a network of interconnected computers. There are six more classifications beyond the two; however, these are the most common setups when it comes to residential and business use. Even if your time on the computer is casual at best, you’ve probably been on one of these networks at some point– but more than likely both.

LAN & WAN - P2190212

LAN stands for ‘local area network‘ and WAN stand for ‘wide area network’. More than just having a different first letter, there are significant differences between the two.

In a LAN, computers are connected together all in the same location and it is typically owned by its users. A smaller or medium-sized business is likely to be connected to a local area network when it is run out of one location with no computers at distant branches. This definition also fits for people who have multiple computers in their home that are connected together. Keep in mind that some LAN’s, on the other hand, connect thousands of computers at a time.

A WAN is a network that is comprised of a group of different LANS spread out over a large geographic area. They are often connected through networks such as a telephone system, leased lines or satellite. LANS connect to a WAN by way of a router and are commonly used by business and government entities so they can carry out their daily functions no matter where they are in the world.

When a LAN needs repair or maintenance, it is likely that a certified technician will be called in to assess the problem. Yet with a wide area network being so much larger, business or government enterprises with their own WAN tend to employ personnel solely for the purpose of its maintenance and repair.


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