About LAN, WAN and Other Kinds of Area Networks


The types of computer network designs is based on their scope or scale. Networking industry refers to nearly every type of design as some kind of area network.

LAN: Local Area Network

It connects the computer hardware in a localized area such as an office or home. Typically, LANs use wired connections to link the computers to each other and to a variety of peripheral devices such as printers.

WAN: Wide Area Network

A computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites.

WLAN: Wireless Local Area Network

WLAN is one in which a mobile user can connect to a Local Area Network (LAN) through a wireless connection. The IEEE 802.11 group of standards defines the technologies for wireless LANs.

MAN: Metropolitan Area Network

It is a network that interconnects users with computer resources in a geographic area or region larger than that covered by even a large local area network (LAN) but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network (WAN).

SAN: Storage Area Network

SAN is a high-speed network of storage devices that also connects those storage devices with servers. It provides block-level storage that can be accessed by the applications running on any networked servers.

SAN: Small Area Network

Small Area Networks typically include one or more master devices that communicate with one or more slave devices using a serial protocol over a common wire bus that connects all the devices together. A master can get the attention of a slave device by sending the slave address over the common wire bus or by applying a signal to separate device select lines.

SAN: System Area Network

It is a relatively local network designed for high-speed interconnection in cluster environments (server to server), multiprocessing systems (processor to processor). The architecture is now almost exclusively switched fabric. Fibre Channel is an example of a SAN technology. It provides a high-speed switched environment in which any device on the network can connect with any other device and communicate over a dedicated high-speed link.

SAN: Server Area Network

SAN systems must support multiple applications and volumes. SAN systems should have the capability to optimize throughput to a single tenant. Performance should be better than traditional SAN systems by having data near the processors as a way to reduce latency.

CAN: Campus Area Network

It is a network that covers an educational or corporate campus. Examples include elementary schools, university campuses, and corporate buildings. A campus area network is larger than a local area network LAN since it may span multiple buildings within a specific area.

CAN: Controller Area Network

It is the nervous system, enabling communication between all parts of the body. Similarly, ‘nodes’ are like muscles connected via the CAN bus, which acts as a central networking system. In turn, electronic control units (ECU) are like arms and legs.

CAN: Cluster Area Network

A computer network or Computer cluster or clusters usually designates a number of networked computers that can be seen from the outside in many cases than a computer. In general, the individual elements of a cluster are connected over a fast network.

PAN: Personal Area Network

PANs can be used for communication among the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet where one master device takes up the role as gateway. A network that surrounds an individual. A wireless PAN (WPAN) might be created between Bluetooth devices.

POLAN: Passive Optical Local Area Network

A POLAN serves fiber by using fiber optic splitters to allow a single optical fiber to serve multiple devices.

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