Local Area Network (LAN)

The term local area network (LAN) is used to describe a network of devices inside a limited area (in the same room, building…). A typical SOHO (small office/home office) LAN  consist of PCs, printers, switches, routers, and cabling that connects all these devices together. The following figure shows a typical LAN:

typical lan

This type of network is usually capable of achieving a high data transfer rate of (up to 10 Gbps) at relatively low cost. The twisted-pair cabling is commonly used in LANs for connections between end user devices and switches, while fiber-optic cabling is used for links between network devices, such as switches and routers.

Some of the LAN technologies are Ethernet, Token Ring and FDDI. Ethernet is by far the most popular wired LAN technology. It defines wiring, signaling, connectors, frame formats, protocol rules, etc. Most modern LANs also support the wireless LAN (WLAN) technology, defined by the IEEE 802.11 standards. WLANs use radio waves instead of wires or cables for links between devices.

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