Local Area Network is a computer network where computers in the same location or group are connected together and shares common communication lines. Local Area Network is mainly expressed as LAN which is a very popular term in computer network and IT.
LAN will have very simple topology where some equipment or components are used. In order to connect multiple computers in a single LAN, we can use the following LAN components and equipment.
Ethernet is a Computer network protocol which is the most popular and defacto protocol for LAN. Ethernet provides easy, fast, stable and cheap implementation LAN. Ethernet mainly uses switches and network interface card with Medium Access Control or MAC addressed in order to transmit data between computers. Ethernet protocol can use different cabling like Coaxial, Copper, CAT5, CAT6 or fiber.
LAN switch is the main component of a LAN. A regular LAN switch consists of multiple Ethernet ports. There are different port number options but generally, 8, 12, 24 are popular for LAN switches. As its name suggests switch is used to switch ethernet packages between different ports.
LAN switches mainly provide LAN related services and features like 802.1X, PoE etc. As these switches are mainly used to connect end systems like PC, Laptop, Camera, Server into the main network.
LAN Network Interface Card (NIC)
Another important component for LAN is Network Interface Card a.k.a. NIC. NIC is a component located in a PC, Laptop and provides an ethernet port. A cable will connect between NIC port and Switch port where data will be transferred. NIC generally uses Ethernet protocol in order to communicate with the LAN switch.
Virtual LAN (VLAN)
LAN’s are a very popular technique to connect multiple computers. But there may be some needs to isolate some computers from others in the same Physical LAN. For example, if we want to connect guest, worker and servers into the same physical switches this will create some security or performance problems. We can use Virtual LAN which will isolate multiple systems from each other logically. Virtual LAN will behave like a separate switch in a physical switch.
LAN vs MAN
LAN and MAN is a different type of terms used to define the network range and features. In this part, we will compare them with LAN.
- LAN coverage or access area is lower then MAN where MAN can be used for a city
- LAN equipment prices are cheaper then MAN because they are less complex
- LAN clients are generally endpoint devices like computer, laptop, pc, camera, server but MAN endpoint devices are generally network devices like firewall, mode, router etc.
- LAN mainly uses ethernet protocol where MAN can use ethernet also uses different long-range protocols