internet.com
You are in the: Small Business Computing Channelarrow View Sites +
Small Business Technology
» ECommerce-Guide | Small Business Computing | Webopedia | WinPlanet |  »Close
Webopedia.com
Enter a word for a definition... ...or choose a computer category.
 
 

menu
   Home
   Term of the Day
   New Terms
   Pronunciation
   New Links
   Quick Reference
   Did You Know?
   Categories
   Tech Support
   Webopedia Jobs
   About Us
   Link to Us
   Advertising
  

talk to us
   Submit a URL
   Suggest a Term
   Report an Error

internet.com
Developer
Downloads
International
Internet Lists
Internet News
Internet Resources
IT
Linux/Open Source
Personal Technology
Small Business
Windows Technology
xSP Resources
Search internet.com
Advertise
Corporate Info
Newsletters
Tech Jobs
E-mail Offers
commerce
  Be a Commerce Partner
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

local-area network
Last modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 

A computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called a wide-area network (WAN).

Most LANs connect workstations and personal computers. Each node (individual computer ) in a LAN has its own CPU with which it executes programs, but it also is able to access data and devices anywhere on the LAN. This means that many users can share expensive devices, such as laser printers, as well as data. Users can also use the LAN to communicate with each other, by sending e-mail or engaging in chat sessions.

There are many different types of LANs Ethernets being the most common for PCs. Most Apple Macintosh networks are based on Apple's AppleTalk network system, which is built into Macintosh computers.

The following characteristics differentiate one LAN from another:

  • topology : The geometric arrangement of devices on the network. For example, devices can be arranged in a ring or in a straight line.
  • protocols : The rules and encoding specifications for sending data. The protocols also determine whether the network uses a peer-to-peer or client/server architecture.
  • media : Devices can be connected by twisted-pair wire, coaxial cables, or fiber optic cables. Some networks do without connecting media altogether, communicating instead via radio waves.
  • LANs are capable of transmitting data at very fast rates, much faster than data can be transmitted over a telephone line; but the distances are limited, and there is also a limit on the number of computers that can be attached to a single LAN.

    E-mail this definition to a colleague

    Sponsored listings

    Windows Small Business Servers: Local Area Network Hardware - Provides resources to help your Windows Small Business Server attract new customers. Free resource kit included.

    LAN Data Recovery and Backup from NetApp - Increase data recovery time. NetApp offers industry leading, reliable data backup and recovery solutions. View the whitepaper or demo.

    Numara Software: Network Management Software - Offers Network Monitor for LAN and WAN network maintenance, administration, monitoring, and optimization. Free trial.


    For internet.com pages about local-area network . Also check out the following links!

    Related Links

    Ethernet tutorial 
    Contains an in-depth introduction to local area networks from Lantronix.

    LAN Times Online 
    The LAN Times online publication offers current news and analysis on the networking industry, along with links to trade shows and events, career development, and information on UnixWorld.

    Simple Guide to Building a Home LAN 
    An article from Sharky Extreme's Hardware Guide.

    The Truth About Servers 
    What makes a server a server? Is there a difference between an e-mail server and a messaging server? Should a firewall be considered a server in certain circumstances? These questions and more are answered in an extensive tutorial that cuts through the marketing hype and explains the basics of key server types.

    ARCNET Trade Association home page
    Home page for ARCNET Trade Association, a non-profit organization of ARCNET users and manufacturers. This site provides a history of ARCNET, links to technical publications, membership information, directories, and product information.

    Cable testers buyers directory
    Offers a collection of links to cable tester companies and products. This page is hosted by LAN Times Online.

    CD-ROM LAN FAQ
    Provides answers to questions on CD-ROM networking solutions and links to related newsgroups, publications, and FTP sites.

    Data communication links
    Collection of links to LAN, WAN and serial communications resources from Data Comm for Business, Inc.

    LAN properties
    Briefly describes LAN properties with a link to information on Ethernet.

    Usenet Local Area Network (LAN) FAQs
    Provides links to several LAN FAQs taken from usenet newsgroups. Some of the main topics include: data communications cabling, ethernet LAN, and LAN mail protocols.

    Yahoo!'s local-area network (LAN) page
    Yahoo!'s directory of local-area network.

    Sponsored listings

    QVS: LAN Networking Hardware - Manufactures cables and connectivity products for the computer and communication industries. Cables, switches, adapters, and fiber optic supplies.

    KnowledgeStorm: Local Area Network (LAN) Maintenance - Business technology search site offering software, service, reseller and hardware information on thousands of IT solutions.

    Managing Automation: Wireless Networking Event - Offers registration for a free webinar on the latest innovations in mobile computing for manufacturers.

    Speakeasy: LAN Networking - Provides mission-critical business broadband services, including T1 and DSL, with service package and local availability information available online.

    KnowledgeStorm: LAN Design and Construction IT Solutions - Business technology search site offering software, service, reseller and hardware information on thousands of IT solutions.

    related categories

    Business Computing

    Network Topologies

    Networks

    related terms

    5-4-3 rule

    AppleTalk

    ARCnet

    attenuation crosstalk ratio

    bridge

    CAN

    client/server architecture

    DCC

    e-mail

    Ethernet

    HAN

    HPNA

    HSRP

    IEEE 802 standards

    internetworking

    iSCSI

    LANE

    logical topology

    MAN

    NetWare

    network

    network interface card

    network operating system

    network-attached storage

    node


    webopedia
    Give Us Your
    Feedback


    Books
    local area network LAN Products


    Shop by Top Models:
    Cisco Lan Switching Fundamentals
    7 store offers

    The Switch Book: The Complete Guide to Lan Switching Technology
    6 store offers

    Ccie Professional Development: Cisco Lan Switching
    7 store offers

    Lan Wiring: An Illustrated Network Cabling Guide
    8 store offers

    Lan Switching First-step
    7 store offers



    JupiterWeb networks:

    internet.comearthweb.comDevx.com graphics.com

    Search JupiterWeb:

    Jupitermedia Corporation has three divisions:
    Jupiterimages, JupiterWeb and JupiterResearch


    Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

    Jupitermedia Corporate Info | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers