What is a Local Area Network (LAN)?

A local area network (LAN) connects computers and other technical devices typically within a small area such as an office building or a house. The connections are made with ethernet cables or via WiFi. Devices that are on the local area network (LAN) may include desktop computers, printers, servers, storage devices, cameras, and more.

Primary benefits of having a local area network are security, resource sharing and data access. For example, if a printer is on the local area network (LAN), multiple people can print to it, eliminating the need for each person to have their own printer. Additionally, LANs enable file sharing and access to locally hosted applications. A user could log into any networked workstation and access files that are on a networked server.

Larger networks, such as those that connect multiple local area networks together, are called wide area networks (WANs). It's common to see WANs in large corporations with offices in multiple cities. Each office will have their own local area network (LAN) joined by a WAN.

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