WANs and LANs

Definitions, differences and uses

LAN

Definition:

LAN stands for Local Area Network. A LAN is a network that connects clients with a topology. These networks can be connected to a WAN, such as the Internet. A LAN can be built quite inexpensively with hubs and Ethernet cables.


Uses:


LANs can be used to share files, play games with multiplayer and use printers shared with multiple computers. A good example is a school network. The school needs to send data like lessons between classroom computers, and save data to a centralised location. Also, the network needs to have limited access, to prevent malicious people attempting to break the network.


Pros:

Fast data sharing between computers, and is safe from people not in the network.

Cons:

Can only share within the network, so the teachers at home can't access their files.

WAN

Definition:

WAN stands for Wide Area Network. A WAN consists of multiple LANs, connected together. WANs span large geographical areas, such as multiple counties. WANs can be used to send a lot of different types of data, such as images etc.


Uses:

A good example is the Internet. The internet consists of many LANs, or the webservers, connected together with ISPs.


Pros:

Enables connections between a lot of computers, which easily enables a lot of data to be shared.

Cons:

Anyone in the area can normally access the WAN, which can lead to "hacking" etc.