LAN, MAN, WAN: Difference Between LAN MAN and WAN

In this article, I am going to explain LAN MAN WAN, and the Differences Between LAN MAN and WAN and Advantages and Disadvantages of LAN, MAN, and WAN, and much more so keep reading this article till the end.

What is LAN (Local Area Network)?

LAN is the expanded form of the Local Area Network. The collection of a group of computer devices in a particular area used for communication between them is known as LAN (Local Area Network). We can use Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable for the LAN (Local Area Network) communication.

LAN MAN WAN play an important role in the hierarchy of the network.

A good example of LAN (Local Area Network) from our day to day life is the use of Wi-Fi in our home. Which helps to access the network to all the devices in a particular range.

Access of the network is possible if only the devices have access from the network. Due to this group connectivity, they are part of a LAN (Local Area Network).


In the 1960s LAN (Local Area Network) got introduced to most colleges and universities.

At that time the main purpose of the LAN (Local Area Network) they used is for scheduling classes, recording the scores of students and also for the library use, etc. But this network is not much success at the large business organizations.

Most of the companies have their network called intranet for their uses. So after the Ethernet gets introduced, the Microsoft Company and the Novell Company develop the software for the use of LAN (Local Area Network) networks. During the development period, they become part of the operating system also.

Characteristics of LAN (Local Area Network)

In many sizes, LAN (Local Area Network) can be found. The internet connection we use in the home for connecting more than 2 devices is a part of LAN (Local Area Network).

The devices that are used in the small or big organization to share their files and store the data are a part of the LAN (Local Area Network) network. Servers control the largest LAN (Local Area Network). The servers help to share the files to devices, direct them to scanners and the printers, and also the data storage.

Other than LAN (Local Area Network) there are few more types of computer networks. The difference of LAN (Local Area Network) from the others is that LAN (Local Area Network) can be used in the same building as in a school, at home, or an office. By having the Wi-Fi access point or the wireless router or through the Ethernet cable the devices are connected to the router. Using the radio wave or through the telephone line, more than one LANs (Local Area Network) can be connected.

Different Types of Local Area Network (LAN)

There are two kinds of Local Area Network (LAN). They are:

  1. Client-server LAN (Local Area Network) is the one.
  2. Peer to peer LAN (Local Area Network) is the other.

Client/server LAN (Local Area Network)

In this type of Local Area Network (LAN), it consists of a central server, client computer, and router. The role of the central server is that the server manages the files and data, traffic from the networks, and also the printer access. The client means the personal computer, tablet, or the devices that can run the application.

The connection to the server happens with the help of cables or wireless connections. The client/server LAN (Local Area Network) works as the different devices used in the communication is get switched and are connected to the server with the help of a cable.

The server plays the main role like they access the network from the media used and passes to the requested client. The client collects the information and stores the data on the server.

Peer to peer LAN (Local Area Network)

Peer to peer does not have the central server. So they cannot handle big workloads like the client/ server LAN (Local Area Network) does. From the network, each device shares the network equally. By using the help of wired or the wireless connection the devices share the resources. Most of the connections in the homes are peer to peer Local Area Network (LAN).

Working of LAN (Local Area Network) In-home

The Local Area Network (LAN) used in the homes can get connect to devices used in a home-like personal computer, tablets, fax machines, printers, scanners, etc. if those devices have the authority to access the internet they are capable to share information to others. The home LAN (Local Area Network) expanded to connect the smart TV or other devices that have the network feature.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LAN (Local Area Network)

Advantages of LAN

  • Sharing of resources

Some of the resources used are DVD drives, modems, scanners, printers, etc. and these resources are connected with the network. So if there is a need for resources by any computer they could share the required one. By exchanging and using the resources by the systems it can save money.

  • Client and server relationship

In the LAN (Local Area Network) network only one server is used to store the data, files, and other documents. The information from every client is also stored in one single server.

So if any of the clients need a piece of particular information they can access the information if that the requested client is the authorized one they can log in to the server and access the required information. For example, the authorized client can access movies or songs from the server.

  • Sharing of Internet

With the help of the operating system, the attached computers get the internet connection from the main server system. For example, the network connection used in the cafes, or a building having more computers the internet gets shared with them with the help of the operating system.

  • Software program sharing

Using LAN (Local Area Network) software programs can be shared. To buy and use the license for the network for each user is costly so it is good for having a single license software that can be used by any users.

  • Securing of data

The information stores in the server are secured. So if any changes made in one server computer get automatically updated to other server computers also. So it is a secure and easy task.

  • Communication is easy, time-saving

The communication takes place through the LAN (Local Area Network) is easy, fast, and time-saving. The exchange of data can happen between users under the same LAN (Local Area Network).

  • Computer identification

With the help of MAC addresses, all the computers who are in communication are get identified in LAN (Local Area Network). The adapter which is stored in the motherboard has the attachment of the MAC address used. Old computers do not have the adapter built-in, new computers have the inbuilt adapters in the motherboard.

Disadvantages of LAN

  • Data security problem

The unauthorized computers get access to the server if there is a leak in the server, so the information is not secured in that case. So improving the security rules and privacy policy should be approved.

  • Limitation of distance

The network cannot be extended to the wider area. Local Area Network (LAN) can only use in a building or within the building.

  • Server crashes may affect the computer

If the server gets crashed due to certain file then the computers attached to the server get crashed also.

  • Expensive

LAN (Local Area Network) is expensive to set. To make a server connection special software is required and also switches, hub, routers, and cables used are costly. And in the large office, an administrator is required to maintain traffic in LAN (Local Area Network).

Examples of LAN

  • Internet used in home and office
  • Networking between two computers
  • Network service used in school, laboratory, campus, etc.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

MAN is the expanded form of the Metropolitan Area Network. The computer network that used to interconnect the users in a region like the metropolitan area is known as MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).

The size of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is between LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network). That means the size of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is more than LAN (Local Area Network) and less than WAN (Wide Area Network).

Features of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

  • The size of the network can be travelled from 5 to 50km.
  • The rate of data is from moderate to high.
  • Regional resources are get shared.
  • By the network provider or the user group owns the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).

Using point to point connection by combining different LANs (Local Area Network) the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network is developed. To have a high-speed data transfer MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) uses the fiber optic wires.

For the development of the MAN network, different technologies are used. Among them, some are named are explained in detail. The technologies used are FDDI, ATM, and SMDS.

Fiber distribution data interface (FDDI)

 Using the FDDI (Fiber distribution data interface) data are transmitted from the LAN. The distance of the speed travels within 200 km. This technology is used in MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) because of the reason that FDDI (Fiber distribution data interface) can handle more than thousands of users.

Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM)

The abbreviated form of ATM is Asynchronous transfer mode. ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) get developed and established in the year 1980.

The aim of the development of the ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) is to transfer the digital data in a fast mode. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is the method used by the ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) for the speed. As small-sized packets, the data are transferred in the ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) through online.

To transfer real-time data the method used by the ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) is packet switching and circuit switching. For doing video and audio conferencing call this method is the most efficient one.

Switched multi-megabit data service (SMDS)

 Here data are transferred in the form of a packet. SMDS (Switched multi-megabit data service) is not a wired connection. This means that all the data information is stored in the header part and using any networks the data are transferred.

The main role of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) or the purpose of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is to combine two LAN (Local Area Network) networks. For transferring data routers and switches are used. The distance of speed can travel is over 50km. It is about 1000 Mbps is the speed of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)


  • Less expensive

In a centralized way, data are get managed in MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). Good and efficient data are provided by MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). And also it is cheaper to attach with WAN (Wide Area Network).

  • Local emails

With the help of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), local mails can send easily, free and fast.

  • High speed

The speed of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is high than WAN (Wide Area Network). Because of the use of optic fiber MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) can transfer data easily. The speed of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) can be 1000 Mbps.

  • Sharing of internet

Multiple users can share the internet and gets the same speed of internet in some case of installation of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).

  • Conversion

Because of the fast configuration of links MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) can interconnect two fast LANs (Local Area Network) together.

  • Security

The MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is more secured than the WAN (Wide Area Network).


  • Difficult to manage

Due to security and other configuration facilities if MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) becomes large then it is more difficult to manage.

  • Internet speed

For the high-speed network optic fibers are a must. If the copper wires of the phone are used for network connection then it has a very low speed.

  • Hacker attack

Compare to LAN (Local Area Network) hackers are more in MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) to attack for the information. So the security of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is not secured. Having a security tool and the trained staff data can be get secured.

  • Technical people required

Technical people like network administrators and the troubleshooter were required to set the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) correctly.

  • More wires used

To connect two LANs (Local Area Network) additional wires are required, which is the other problem faced in the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network.

Examples of MAN

  1. Digital cable television MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network is used.
  2. Network connections to the University Campus are provided by MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).
  3. Cable broadband is provided with the help of the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network.
  4. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network are used in Government agencies also.
  5. In Hospitals MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network used for communication between different staffs in the network.
  6. In Airport MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) network is provided.
  7. Libraries such as public libraries the network used are MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) to know about the collection of books and students who all refer it.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

The abbreviated form of WAN is the Wide Area Network. WAN (Wide Area Network) provides a network all around the world. The WAN (Wide Area Network) can be defined as a network that can communicate over a large geographical area such as country, state, or city. Combining LAN and MAN WAN is introduced. Over the geographical areas through the WAN we can transmit data, voice, images, video, etc. Hubs, switches, routers, cables, and modems are used for transmission of data.

The world’s largest WAN (Wide Area Network) is the internet. Because of the use of ISPs (Internet Service Protocol), the internet connects the smaller LANs (Local Area Network) and MANs (Metropolitan Area Network). So the internet is the best example of WAN (Wide Area Network).

Various links are used by WAN (Wide Area Network) such as the private lines, virtual private networks (VPNs), multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to connect the campus and cities into a single network.

To share cooperate resources and the communications the WAN (Wide Area Network) will connect the branch offices or the individual remote workers with a data center or the headquarters. For the case of business, networks are privately used and in the case of small networks, they are publically provided.

In the 1970s, the technology used by the WAN (Wide Area Network) used is the X.25. The use of this technology helps and supports automated teller machines, credit card transaction systems, and CompuServe an early used online information.

Dial-up modem connections were used by the older X.25 which is 56 Kbps. Frame Relay is the technology developed to simplify the X.25 protocol. In the 1990s for telecommunications companies use the Frame Relay protocol. For handling the video and voice traffic and to improve the Frame Relay protocol the new protocol introduced is Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).

The feature named Quality of Service is the one that brings the MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) to success.

The mainly used technologies to transfer data from a computer over the internet are listed below:

  • ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network)
  • SMDS (Switched multimegabit data server)
  • SONET (Synchronous optical network)
  • HDLC (High data link control)
  • SDLC (Synchronous data link control)
  • Frame Relay


Advantages of WAN

  • Geographical area

The large geographical area of 1000 km or above were covered by WAN (Wide Area Network). With the help of WAN (Wide Area Network), we can connect the offices or branches of offices. To connect different branch offices leased lines were provided by ISP (Internet Service Provider).

  • Centralized data

By taking the example of head office and its branches we could say that there is no need to buy any files, or servers for the branch offices. The head office contains the backup server, email, files, etc. so the data are shared with the branch is through the server. So everything that all are required all are shared by the head office and all the data are synchronized to all the branch offices also.

  • Updated data and files

Through the line server, all the software companies work. So if there is any update in any files or software the computer used by the staff will get updated within a second.

  • A lot of application to exchange messages

The messages can be sent and receive fast by using some of the applications like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook messenger, etc. using new LAN (Local Area Network) technologies or the IoT (Internet of things) transmission of messages is fast.

  • Sharing software and resources

Through the users on the internet, we could share resources like the RAM, hard drive, etc. the computer resources can be shared through many websites by web hosting also.

  • Global business

The persons who have computer knowledge and skills could do business on the internet. And these could be increased globally also. Shopping cart, sale, purchase of stock, etc. are some of the business that can be done through the internet.

  • High bandwidth

By having and using the leased lines we can transfer data at high speed because the data transfer speed gets increased and we can increase the productivity of the company also.

  • Distribute workload and decrease travel charges

One of the benefits of the WAN (Wide Area Network) is that the works can be distributed to any other location. With the help of an example, we could say that if our company is in any European country then we could select the employee from any part of the world with the help of WAN (Wide Area Network). And can communicate through video conferencing and also we could manage and track the work of them through the internet. Which also reduces the traveling charge.


  • Security problem

Compared to LAN (Local Area Network) and MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) WAN (Wide Area Network) have more security problems. Because of using many technologies and combining them WAN (Wide Area Network) creates a security gap.

  • Antivirus software and firewall

The exchanging of data between the internets may help the hackers to access the information. So firewalls should be used on the computer. Antivirus software should be used because many of the users could also provide virus on the internet. So as a precaution we could install the antivirus software.

  • Cost is high

For the first installment of WAN (Wide Area Network), the cost will be more expensive because of the routers, cables, and extra security software used.

  • Troubleshooting problem

Because of the reason that WAN (Wide Area Network) covers a large area, it is difficult to maintain the problem. That means most of the wires will get broken and may fall in the sea it is not possible to recover in this situation.

  • Disconnection issue and server down

Due to electricity supply or bad line ISP (Internet Service Provider) face some of the problems. So the users may experience slow internet connectivity. To overcome this problem users need to purchase the dedicated line from the ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Examples of WAN

  • The Internet is one of the best examples for WAN (Wide Area Network).
  • Cable companies provide the WAN (Wide Area Network) connectivity.
  • Satellite systems, network providers all are experiencing the WAN (Wide Area Network) network facility.

Comparison of LAN MAN and WAN

Local Area Network is the expanded form of LAN.Metropolitan Area Network is the expanded form of MAN.Wide Area Network is the expanded form of WAN.
It connects networks in small areas in a building or office.It connects the network in a city.It connects networks in a large area such as a country, city, state, etc.
The ownership of a LAN network is private.The ownership of the network can be private or public.The ownership of the network can be private or public.
It can be easy to design and maintainIt is difficult to maintain.It is difficult to maintain.
Speed is high.Speed is moderate.Speed is low.
It allows a pair of single devices to communicate.Multiple computers can communicate.More number of computers could connect and communicate at a time.
The propagation delay is short.The propagation delay is moderate.The propagation delay is long.

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