Knowing The Main Differences Between LAN and WAN


We recently gave you an overview of what a LAN (Local Area Network) is, this in combination with WAN (Wide Area Network) would virtually give you the definition of what networks are in the field of computing.


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While LAN and WAN are both two branches of networking and share many similarities, there’s a very fine line between them as well, here are some of their main differences:

  • Difference on the basis of scope: WAN is considered to be more vast and widespread. WAN is meant for networking between wide geographical regions like between two cities or even across different time zones while LAN is mainly used for private connectivity among residential offices or a single edifice. Hence a small scale WAN can be developed by creating many LANs.
  • Difference on the basis of connections: In case of LAN, Ethernet is the main device which is used for connecting the workstations or the computers. Ethernet is a bus based protocol device in which cables and wires and permanent. Ethernet helps is the interconnection of the different types of LANs. While in the case of WAN, common carriers are usually used and most people opt in for service providers. When it comes to the speed of both the network technologies, a LAN is usually faster as it is confined to a small space with servers in a nearby location.
  • On the basis of Network Topology: LAN and WAN have different configuration. LAN is based on peer to peer communication where each node is connected to the other node and can share the data and other applications with each other. While WAN is totally based on the client server model where the entire network originates from one central system and is transferred to other nodes according to the requests made.
  • On the basis of Usage: LAN is mainly used for data and peripheral sharability like the accessing of scanners printers and other peripherals, and the main feature of a LAN is that usage is restricted and controlled among a limited number of people. In the case of WAN, however, it maybe used to conduct business, connect with people on a social level, share files and data, etc.
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Knowing The Main Differences Between LAN and WAN | Computer Realm - July 20, 2009

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Online TV - July 20, 2009

This post really cleared my mind about WAN and LAN. About the difference between WAN and LAN I only known that WAN, like MAN, is for Large Area Network and LAN is for a small Area Network, like between 3 or 4 computers.

    stair lift - July 27, 2009

    You got it right, right example of WAN is internet. And LAN is cable network in your city.

Network Administration Careers in New York | College & University - August 8, 2009

[…] Knowing The Main Differences Between LAN and WAN ( […]

manchester city - August 11, 2009

I knew a bit about LAN but not much about WAN but this article really helped me gain a good introduction to both LAN and WAN.

Sara Ghazal - July 15, 2011

Thanks. I got good knowledge.

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