What Is LAN in Computer Networking?

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If you are into computer networking, no doubt you must have heard about LAN or the Local Area Network. As the name suggest a LAN is a local set up for interconnecting computers. Companies privately own LAN’s and are used to connect the local computers through the use of cables. Most often time these local area networks are privately owned and exist within a building or extend up-to a few kilometers.

The best use they are put into is to enable resource sharing between computers within an office. In my company we have several workstations and only a small number of printers. We have enabled wireless LAN as well as local LAN to enable resource sharing as it is a key factor in reducing business costs.

Three Characteristic Features of LAN

  1. The size of a LAN network.
  2. The topology of the local area network.
  3. The technology LAN’s use for transmission.

Network management is always a pain for system administrators. This is avoided by restricting the size of the network so that the worst case scenario is already known and risk assessment can be done.

In simple LAN configuration, a single cable runs through the entire set up and the peripherals and computers are attached to the cable. Traditional LAN speeds are 10Mbps to 100Mbps. Modern LAN cables are capable of much higher data transfer per second.

In case two or more systems needs to use the LAN at the same time, then an arbitration mechanism is deployed to resolve the conflict. A first come first serve policy or a prioritized approach may be taken.

LAN Topologies

Below you can see various LAN topologies
lan topology