What is a Local Area Network (LAN)?
Networking Solutions Topics
- A Peer-to-peer LAN directly connects two devices.
- A Client-server LAN – is typical in business environments and includes multiple endpoints and servers connected to a LAN switch that directs communication among devices.
What is a Wired Local Area Network?
A wired LAN includes a switch that uses Ethernet cabling to connect to servers, workstations and other endpoints to the corporate network.
Example of a Wired Local Area Network
What is a Virtual Local Area (VLAN) Network?
Smaller organizations with only a few devices can usually get by with a wired LAN, including one switch with Ethernet ports to interconnect all devices.
However, larger organizations with hundreds or thousands of devices require additional hardware, software and configuration to form multiple virtual LANs (VLANs).
VLANs limit the amount of traffic individual devices experience, alleviating network congestion and bottlenecks that impact network performance.
Example of a Virtual Local Area Network
What is a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)?
A wireless local area network (WLAN) is identical to a wired LAN except that the devices that make up the network are connected through radio transmissions, typically a Wi-Fi signal, instead of wired connections. An office or home Wi-Fi network is considered a WLAN.
A WLAN typically consists of a wireless router and endpoints, such as computers, mobile devices, printers, fax machines and other devices. The wireless router enables the devices to talk to each other and also connect to the Internet.
The ease of setup and management has made WLANs commonplace in offices that rely heavily on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. But it also has made it possible for other types of businesses, such as restaurants, coffee shops and stores, to have a WLAN. Wi-Fi also has expanded the types of connected devices beyond desktops and printers to include smart devices like lighting, thermostats, security cameras and more.
Example of a Wireless Local Area Network
Wireless LAN vs. Wired LAN
Wireless LANs have these advantages over wired LANs:
Wireless LANs are easier to set up when compared to wired LANs since they don’t require cabling.
Endpoint devices like computers and printers only need to be in the wireless signal range and aren’t tethered to the wire connection.
Employees can connect to a wireless LAN through smartphones and tablets, which is impossible with wired LANs.
Wired LANs have these advantages over wireless LANs:
Wired LANs support greater bandwidth and have faster connection speeds.
Weak signal strength common with wireless LANs is not an issue with wired LANs.
To break into a wired LAN, the hacker must connect to a network switch, router or computer before accessing the network.
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