What is a Local Area Network (LAN)? How does it operate?

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By Miro Stoichev

Every device in this area, whether it’s in a multi-story office building or a single family home, is connected to everything else. How is it possible? Via the LAN, or local area network. Everything you need to know about the LAN is explained by WirelessDevNet.

What is a LAN, or local area network

What is a LAN, or local area network?

The acronym for local area network is LAN. It’s a computer network where every endpoint is situated in one location. These include, for instance, every computer, printer, cable, switch, router, access point, and other device inside a structure. After that, the plan is to link the gadgets within a specific, constrained space. This makes resource sharing and communication amongst network nodes easier.

The size of the covered area is irrelevant. Both a corporate network with thousands of employees and a home network with two or three users can benefit from LAN technology. Interestingly, LAN also refers to Enterprise Local Area Network at the corporate level.

In the 1960s, LANs were created for research facilities, colleges, and universities. At the time, the goal was to make it easier for the computers in these educational institutions to connect to one another. However, as Ethernet technology advanced in 1973, LANs were expanded widely, establishments such as shops, restaurants, cafes…

It’s important to remember that:

Local area networks (LANs) are distinct from metropolitan area networks (MANs) and wide area networks (WANs), which cover far larger geographic areas. MANs and WANs, however, can also be used to link multiple LANs together.

How is the Local Area Network operated

How is the Local Area Network operated?

Before Ethernet, a local area networks was just a collection of computers and other devices connected to a single communication line. Subsequently, the advancement of Wi-Fi made wireless server connections easier (this is known as WLAN). Thus, wired and wireless local area networks (LANs) are options available to businesses and private individuals. But because the entire building need not be wired, a wireless LAN is generally better than a wired LAN connection. Because of this, the wireless version is far more cost-effective and versatile.

Whatever the kind, the following elements are necessary for LAN networks to operate:

Ethernet cables that act as a common medium with the various devices; switches; routers (only for large LANs to streamline traffic flow); and Ethernet cables (only for wired networks). Terminals, servers, and other devices are connected to the business or home network using this setup.

Local networks that are virtual

The LAN network needs to be able to connect thousands of devices in organizations with several hundred or even thousands of employees. Nevertheless, the amount of traffic can cause congestion and bottlenecks if an excessive number of devices are linked to a single LAN.

Then, the traditional Ethernet/Wi-Fi LAN setup with switches seems insufficient. It is preferable to divide up the broadcast traffic instead. Virtual local area networks, or VLANs, are useful in this situation. The IT infrastructure is divided up among multiple VLANs to distribute the data traffic.

Businesses frequently use VLANs, particularly those where various departments (finance, marketing, IT, accounting, etc.) are dispersed over multiple floors or sizable spaces.

Teams can work together more easily when all devices are connected to the same switch thanks to VLAN. The networks are divided at the same time to allow each employee to customize usage to meet their own requirements.

Corporate networks are typically segmented into hundreds of VLANs in order to reduce performance problems and broadcast congestion.

What benefits does LAN offer?

The primary benefit of Local Area Networking (LAN) is its ability to streamline device connections. Whatever the devices in question may be. Computers, printers, phones, TVs, speakers, lamps, blinds, thermostats, and even fire alarm systems can all be connected. Users on the network can now safely share files, print documents, and control the temperature in the room.

Apart from these common uses, LAN technologies offer the following benefits to businesses:

  • Several devices connected to a local network can share a single Internet connection;
  • Data is stored centrally;
  • Connected devices are protected by network security tools.

Things to keep in mind:

  • A local area network, or LAN, links every device within a specific geographic area;
  • There are two types of LANs: wireless and wired (via Ethernet);
  • These configurations, however, are no longer adequate when hundreds of workstations need to be connected;
  • Businesses utilize virtual local area networks (VLANs) as a result.

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