LAN vs WAN
Clearing up the WAN vs LAN confusion
Feeling a little lost when it comes to the difference between LAN vs WAN? You’re not alone. While there are definite overlaps between the two, it’s important to understand the real meaning behind them – especially since most of us use them every day, whether we know it or not.
Both LAN and WAN are networks that allow for interconnectivity between computers, but:
LAN stands for Local Area Network
WAN stands for Wide Area Network
Basically, LANs are used for smaller and more localised networking. For example, between computers that are geographically close to each other, such as homes, businesses and schools. WANs cover larger areas, allowing for network connections within cities and even between multiple nations. The internet is the biggest WAN that exists. While LANs can be managed in-house, a WAN requires a connection over the public internet or a private connection from a third-party telecommunications provider.
What are the benefits of LANs and WANs?
LANs – Faster, more secure, high-speed, high data transfer rate
WANs – Allow for more widespread connectivity/larger geographical range
What is a LAN?
LANs (local area networks) are used to connect computers, phones, laptops and other devices that are geographically close to each other. This connection allows them to share files and carry out other tasks, and is possible because all devices use the same router. For example, you use a LAN when you send a document to the printer in your office.
Most homes, schools and workplaces set up their technology using a LAN; they’re pretty easy and inexpensive to implement and operate.
What is a WAN?
A WAN (wide area network) is necessary when computers that aren’t close to each other need to be connected. For example, when a network needs to be established across regional or national boundaries. Most of the time, LANs are connected to WANs so that smaller home, office and school networks are able to communicate with wider networks.
WANs are usually run through public networks or privately leased lines and can reach a near infinite geographical distance.
WAN vs LAN cable
LANs use ethernet cables (e.g. Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a) or wireless cards in order to get connected. This starts from a central access point such as a router or software programme. Copper cabling is used when fibre-to-the-home is available, or Wi-Fi is used to make wireless networking available to a local network.
Most modern LAN routers connect devices wirelessly (via radio waves) but wired connections like ethernet cables tend to be faster since there is less interference.
WANs are more complex, requiring a port that connects the router to the outside world. WANs can be connected using wired services (e.g. Metro Ethernet, Direct Internet Access, T1 cables) or wireless...