Local Area Network – An Overview

Local Area Network, also known as LAN, has been a major player in the industrialization of computing. In the past 20 years, the world’s industry has been invaded with new computer technology. With an ever growing need for improvement, it has made such an impact on the way we do business, that it is a necessity than a luxury. LAN is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area, such as a school, lab, residential complex or office building. LAN is contrasted in principle to a Wide Area Network, which covers a larger geographic distance and may involve leased telecommunication circuits, while the media for LAN are locally managed.

You may have frequently come across references to these networks if you have LAN connection to the internet at home or at your office. With a single internet connection, a typical use of LAN is to provide internet connectivity simultaneously to all the users in a house. In a LAN, all the internet capable devices available at home can be configured as nodes and can be connected to the internet via computers designated for this purpose. It can also be used to connect workstations in an office environment in a similar fashion for providing access to shared resources like printers. It uses 10 base T twisted pair cables or wireless networking to connect computers in a network.

LAN connections used to be very simple before, but are now different structures. With at least five computation standards for transmissions and two standards for the information required to manage the network, these connections have become so complex that they require their own operating systems. There are few characteristics of LAN, as follows:

• Interconnected devices: Bridges and routers are used to connect them to Local Area Networks spread through an organization. For instance, a router could be used to move information among Ethernet, token ring and fiber distributed data interface networks.

• Backbone Networks: These are also connected Local Area Networks, but provide high speed transmission and control the flow of data among the various networks.

• Desktop High speed LAN: This connects desktop devices directly to the fiber distributed data interface network and has access to the full 100MHz transmission speed.

The two most common local area networks are Ethernet and International Business Machines’ token ring network. Ethernet networks use base band coaxial cable or shielded pair wire and can operate at 10MHz.

The LAN has become an essential component of the modern work environment. With ever-growing need for advancement in technology, it has also become a very profitable industry in itself and will continue to grow for a long time to come.