What is the use of a Local Area Network – LAN?

LAN is quite an old arrangement of multiple computers to connect and communicate with each other, it stands for Local Area Network. This type of network is limited in size and typically covers individual buildings or a data center that has two to several thousand devices connected. The technology used to connect devices in LAN or WAN (wide area network) is known as Ethernet.

LAN is often used in businesses and homes for connecting multiple computers and other devices, whereas larger networks with a wider area coverage are referred to as Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN) or Wide Area Networks (WAN).

Connected devices don’t mean only PC or laptops, they can be servers, printers, storage devices, or other network devices. It can be implemented with either wired or wireless connections, with wireless networks referred to as Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN).

In the LAN networking structure connected devices that can communicate and share resources with each other are in a private environment. For example: In the home, end devices such as PCs, printers, laptops, smartphones, or tablets are connected to the local network via an Internet access router.

That means devices in your LAN system will not be accessible from the outside world unless you are not allowing it in your router and have an active internet connection.

A local area network (LAN) is typically cabled with twisted pair cables, which are specifically designed for low-cost and low-interference transmissions. Whereas for a high-speed network where higher bandwidths are required such as data centers, fiber optic cables are generally used.

The four major components required to connect computers within a LAN to each other and to external networks like the Internet are Hosts (can be any device), Network mediums such as Cables & connectors, NIC (Network Interface card), and Network equipment which includes hubs, switches, access points, and routers. The task of these components is regulating the flow of data so that users can communicate effectively over the network not only locally but over the internet as well.

Active and passive components in a local area network

Passive components in a local area network (LAN) are the physical infrastructure that facilitates communication between end devices, servers, and other network components. This includes network cables, sockets, and patch panels.

Whereas, active components in the LAN are the actual working devices such as repeaters, hubs, switches, access points, and routers.

However, you hardly see Hubs in today’s network because they are no longer commonly used in modern Gigabit Ethernet or Fast Ethernet networks since they cannot manage multiple transmissions at once; instead, switches form the basis of these networks and can operate without collisions.

Among the other LAN components, a router is often the primary active component operating at the edge of the LAN; it establishes a connection that links the LAN to other networks (data centers, wide area networks, or even the internet).