ARCHIVED: What is the difference between a LAN, a MAN, and a WAN?
A LAN (local area network) is a group of
computers and network devices connected together, usually within the
same building. By definition, the connections must be high speed and
relatively inexpensive (e.g., token ring or
Ethernet). Most Indiana University Bloomington departments
are on LANs.
A LAN connection is a high-speed connection to a LAN. On the IUB
campus, most connections are either Ethernet (10 Mbps) or Fast Ethernet
(100 Mbps), and a few locations have Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps)
A MAN (metropolitan area network) is a larger network
that usually spans several buildings in the same city or town. The IUB
network is an example of a MAN.
A WAN (wide area network), in comparison to a
MAN, is not
restricted to a geographical location, although it might be confined
within the bounds of a state or country. A WAN connects several
LANs, and may be limited to an enterprise (a corporation or an
organization) or accessible to the public. The technology is
high speed and relatively expensive. The Internet is
an example of a worldwide public WAN.