Lan meaning

Short for local area network. A network that links together computers and peripheral equipment within a limited area, such as a building or a group of buildings. The computers in an LAN have independent central processing units, but they are able to exchange data with each other and to share resources such as printers.
(Local Area Network) A communications network that is typically confined to a building or premises. A LAN is a local network, whereas a WAN is a wide area network that spans long distances (see WAN). Every wireless router has four LAN ports, which creates a small local network in the home or office (see wireless router).The "clients" in a LAN are the user's computers running Windows, Mac or Linux, while the "servers" hold programs and data shared by the clients. Servers come in a wide range of sizes from PC-based servers to mainframes (see server).The TransportData transfer over a LAN is managed by the TCP/IP transport protocol, and the physical transmission is handled by Ethernet over twisted pair or optical fiber cables. Using Wi-Fi, Ethernet's wireless counterpart, laptops and mobile devices connect without cables. See twisted pair, optical fiber, TCP/IP and Ethernet.Thick and Thin ClientsIn a company LAN, the client machines are mostly Windows PCs; however, Macs are also widely used. Each PC or Mac contains a variety of installed applications. These "thick" clients are the norm; however, some organizations use "thin" clients, which perform limited business processing. For example, a Windows PC can be turned into an input/output terminal to a server (see Remote Desktop Services). See thin client and client/server.The Network OSThe software that enables data sharing is the network operating system in the servers, typically running Windows, Linux or Unix. In large organizations, multiple dedicated servers are used. A component part resides in each client operating system, which allows the application in the client to read and write data from the server.Client machines can also function as a server, allowing other users access to data in folders configured as "sharable." These "peer-to-peer" networks are easier to manage, but dedicated servers provide better performance and handle high transaction volume.
A system that links together electronic office equipment, such as computers and printers, and forms a network within an office, building, or group of buildings.
LAN is defined as Local Area Network, a system that links together various pieces of electronic equipment from a small area.

An example of a LAN is what a small business uses to connect their computers together.

A LAN is a packet network designed to interconnect host computers, peripherals, storage devices, and other computing resources within a local area, i.e., limited distance. LANs conform to the client/server architecture, a distributed computing architecture that runs applications on client microcomputers against one or more centralized servers, which are high-performance multiport computers with substantial processing power and large amounts of memory. A LAN might serve an office, a floor of a building, and entire building, or a campus area, but generally does not cross a public right-ofway such as a street.The distance limitation generally is in the range of a few kilometers, at most, although that is sensitive to the transmission media employed, which include coaxial cable, twisted pair, optical fiber, infrared (IR) light, and radio frequency (RF) systems. Raw bandwidth ranges up to 10 Gbps, although actual throughput generally is much less. LANs generally are private networks, although public wireless hotspots offering wireless Internet access currently are popular. Most LAN standards are set by the 802 Working Group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), with examples being 802.3 (Ethernet) and 802.11a/b/g (Wi-Fi).A personal area network (PAN) such as Bluetooth, is much more limited in geographic scope than a LAN. LANs and LAN segments can be interconnected over a metropolitan area network (MAN) or wide area network (WAN). LANs operate at Layer 1, the Physical Layer, and Layer 2, the Data Link Layer, of the OSI Reference Model. See also 802.3, 802.5, 802.11, architecture, bandwidth, Bluetooth, client/server, coaxial cable, Data Link Layer, Ethernet, hotspot, IEEE, IR, MAN, optical fiber, OSI Reference Model, PAN, Physical Layer, RF, throughput, Token Ring, twisted pair, WAN, and Wi-Fi.

Other Word Forms



Origin of lan

  • l(ocal) a(rea) n(etwork)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition