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There are 3 main categories of network. They are

  1. LAN [Local Area Network]

  2. MAN [Metropolitan Area Network]

  3. WAN [Wide Area Network]


LAN [Local Area Network]

  • LAN stands for the interconnection of computers, hub, switch and other network devices in a limited area like office or building.

  • It plays very important role in functioning of business, industry, school, government.

  • It is used to connect computers and other network devices together so that the devices can communicate with each other and share resources.

  • LAN is the smallest network in geographical size.



  • Used in small area like office or building

  • High speed communication, typically 10 MBPS, 100 MBPS or even 1000 MBPS

  • LAN specific equipment like NIC [Network Interface Card], hub or switch and low cost cables are used.

  • Devices used in LAN are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain

  • One person can takes up responsibilities to maintain network support .

  • Local area networking uses switches, bridges and/or repeaters, and hubs to interconnect LANs and increase overall size.

  • Routers are used to connect a LAN to a WAN or MAN. Both of these scenarios form an internetwork.



MAN [Metropolitan Area Network]

  • Two or more LANís interconnected over high-speed connecting across city or metropolitan area.

  • MAN can span up-to 50 to 75 miles.

  • Used by large business house, Colleges and Universities.



  • Sites are dispersed across a city or surrounding area.

  • Speed ranges from slow speed to 10 MBPS

  • It requires more sophisticated networking equipment like Router, ATM switch, Microwave Antennas, Wireless Access Point and even Fiber cables.

  • For all intents and purposes, a MAN has the same characteristics as a WAN with distance constraints.

  • For on-site support, administration and to keep network running full time highly specialized administrator is required.


WAN [Wide Area Network]

  • Two or more LAN and MAN are interconnected using relatively slow speed PSTN [Public Switch Telephone Network], Broadband, Fiber or Satellite link.

  • They may span be span over cities, states or even countries.

  • When physical cable connection is not possible, major telecommunication company uses satellite connectivity.


  • They cover very large geographical area, covers across the world.

  • Usually communicate at speed slower than LAN

  • Sophisticated device like Router, WAN Switch, ATM, Fiber Optic and Satellite are used.

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