Both LAN and WAN stands for computer network that allows the interconnection of computers. Although the main purpose of both is to provide internet to the users but still there are many point of differences between. The main differences between LAN and WAN is that LAN is a type of computer network that covers a small geographic areas such as home, office, group of buildings or institutes. On other hand, WAN is type of computer network that covers a broad geographical area such as metropolitan, countries, regional, etc.

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Contents: Difference between LAN and WAN

What is LAN?

Local Area or Network (LAN) or simply LAN is a type of computer network that covers a small geographic area such as home, office, a small town, any building or institute. In past, ARCNET, and Token Ring were used as a LAN but over the evaluation in internet, Ethernet and Wi-Fi are the present shapes of LANs. Due to its localized nature, the data transfer speeds a very high in LAN and it can be controlled and managed by one person or small size organization. The maintenance cost of LAN is also very low.

What is WAN?

Wide Area Network or simple WAN is a type of computer network that covers a wide geographical area and communicated across metropolitan, countries, national boundaries, across regional and over a long distance. It use leased telecommunication lines. WAN are often used by business and government agencies to connect make strong network communication among employees, clients, supplier and buyers from various parts of the world. Due to its wide coverage, it becomes often difficult to manage and organize the LAN. Moreover, the maintenance cost of WAN is also high as compare to PANs, LANs, CANs, and MANs.

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Key Differences between LAN and WAN

  1. LAN has to cover small geographical area that’s why its data transfer speeds are high. While WAN has to cover greater distance that means information has to travel long distance, so there will be automatically low transfer speed.
  2. LAN is normally controlled and managed by one person or a small size organization while WANs have collective or distributed ownership and management for each specified area.
  3. LAN has low maintenance cost while WAN setup costs are typically higher due to connect to remote areas.
  4. It is very easy to trace out errors or fault in LAN that is very hard in case of WAN.
  5. Data transmission error rate in WAN can be higher as compare to LAN.
  6. LAN is less congestion while WAN is more congestion.
  7. LAN have a small geographical coverage so there is no need of leased telecommunication lines. While WAN use leased telecommunication lines because of its large covered geographical area.
  8. For connectivity, LAN uses the technologies of Ethernet and Token Ring. WAN uses the technology of MPLS, ATM, Frame Relay, and X.25 to make long distance connection.
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Video Explanation

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