What Is A LAN?

LAN is a short form for Local Area Network and is used to control your internal network such as devices all connected to a router or a switch. Typically, a LAN is a private network owned and maintained by a single organization which is usually located at a home or a business. Usually, this is how other devices find each other on a network. For example, if you have a smart house appliance set up and have it integrated with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa you could give them a voice command to turn something off and usually it turns off (assuming it was set up correctly). This is done by sending a signal or command to the unit over the internal internet to its MAC address or IP address. The other form of a LAN is called WLAN which means Wireless Local Area Network. WLAN has the same properties as the LAN however the main point where it differs is it is a wireless based connection rather than a hard connection. LAN is associated with your internal IP address which can be static or dynamic and usually the router can auto-assign the IP based on the IP class that is specified.  

What Is A WAN?

WAN is a short form for Wide Area Network and is normally compared with MAN which is a short form for Metropolitan Area Network. MAN is a large network that usually spans several buildings in the same city or town. IUB network is a good example of a MAN. WAN is sort of the same however it is not restricted to a geographical location however it can be restricted or bound of state or country. WAN can connect several LANs and can limit enterprise or public access.  It is nearly impossible for a small to medium size business to provide the connectivity solutions of a WAN. WAN is also provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help consumers connect to the internet. WAN is associated with your external IP address which can be narrowed down to a specific area. There are two types of WANs Switched WAN and Point-To-Point WANS. When it comes to speed WAN’s speed is about 10th of LAN’s speed since it involves a long distance.

What Are A Few Differences Between WANs & LANs?

  • LANs are private networks that connect computers in a small physical area like offices and homes. While WANs are for larger areas and can be provided by ISPs
  • LANs have higher bandwidth rates such as 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps or even 10 Gbps. While WANS has much lower bandwidth rates such as 4 Mbps, 8 Mbps, 20 Mbps, 50 Mbps, and even 100 Mbps.
  • Most LANs use Ethernet as LAN Standards while WANs use technologies like VPNs over the internet, or MPLS or even Frame Relay.
  • Initial setup cost for LANs are low as the devices required. However initial setup for WANs cost is significantly higher because of routers, firewalls, cables and manpower.
  • LANs are less congested than WANs
  • LANs are controlled and managed by network administrators while WANs involve 3rd party service providers.