local area network

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local area network

(LAN), a computer networknetwork,
in computing, two or more computers connected for the purpose of routing, managing, and storing rapidly changing data. A local area network (LAN), which is restricted by distances of up to one mile, and a metropolitan area network (MAN), which is restricted to distances
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 dedicated to sharing data among several single-user workstations or personal computerspersonal computer
(PC), small but powerful computer primarily used in an office or home without the need to be connected to a larger computer. PCs evolved after the development of the microprocessor made possible the hobby-computer movement of the late 1970s, when some computers
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, each of which is called a node. A LAN can have from two to several hundred such nodes, each separated by distances of several feet to as much as a mile, and should be distinguished from connections among computers over public carriers, such as telephone circuits, that are used for other purposes. Because of the relatively small areas involved, the nodes in a LAN can be connected by special high-data-rate cables. A metropolitan area network (MAN) is defined as being restricted to a larger area (maximum distances of 50–60 miles) than a LAN but one still small enough so that dedicated links (such as microwave links) can be used. See also modemmodem
[modulator/demodulator], an external device or internal electronic circuitry used to transmit and receive digital data over a communications line normally used for analog signals.
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Bibliography

See W. Stallings, Local and Metropolitan Area Networks (1993); M. N. O. Sadiku, Metropolitan Area Networks (1995).

local area network

(networking)
(LAN) A data communications network which is geographically limited (typically to a 1 km radius) allowing easy interconnection of terminals, microprocessors and computers within adjacent buildings. Ethernet and FDDI are examples of standard LANs.

Because the network is known to cover only a small area, optimisations can be made in the network signal protocols that permit data rates up to 100Mb/s.

See also token ring, wide area network, metropolitan area network..

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