Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
LAN(Local Area Network) A communications network that is confined to a building or building complex. A LAN is a local network, whereas a WAN is a wide area network that spans long distances (see WAN). A wireless router generally has four or more LAN ports that create 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 PCs to mainframes (see server). The Internet hosts millions of them.
Data transfer over a LAN is managed by the TCP/IP transport protocol, and the physical transmission by cable is Ethernet. Mobile devices are connected by Wi-Fi, Ethernet's wireless counterpart. See twisted pair, optical fiber, TCP/IP and Ethernet.
Thick and Thin Clients
In a company LAN, the client machines are typically Windows or Mac, possibly some Linux, and each platform has many installed applications. These "thick" clients are the norm; however, some organizations use "thin" clients, whereby their PCs function like terminals to a server (see Remote Desktop Services). See thin client and client/server.
The Network OS
The software that enables sharing between machines is the network operating system, typically Linux, Windows or Unix. The network OS is in the servers with a component in each client, allowing each to access files from each other. Folders must be made "sharable" for file transfers to work.
|Clients and Servers in a LAN|
|This shows the private employee-facing side and the public-facing site. In large companies, multiple servers are used for each type of service. Today, it is uncommon to see a remote access server for dial-up connections.|
|Software in a Network Client|
|These are examples of common applications found in a user's machine. Printers may be connected to clients or servers wired or wireless (see print server).|
|Software in a Network Server|
|These are the common services in a network server.|
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.