LAN vs WAN : What is the difference between LAN and WAN?



Local Area Network (LAN)

  • LAN normally operates within a compact area such as an Office Building or a Campus.
  • LAN is capable of interconnecting a large number of computers and other devices within 1 Km.
  • A LAN tends to use only one type of transmission medium.
  • LANs are usually used for sharing printers, hard disk, hardware devices, and software applications (etc.).
  • Physical medium is used for data transmission.
  • Transmission medium used are UTP (Un-Shielded Twisted Pair) Cable, STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) Cable or Fiber Optic Cable.
  • Data transmission Speed is high.(i.e.) 10/100 mbps
  • Installation cost is low.
  • Normally owned by a single organization.
  • Success Rate of Data Transmission is almost 100%.
  • (e.g.) Computer Labs of Institutions, Computer Network in an Office, etc.

Wide Area Network (WAN):

  • WAN interconnects different Sites, User Terminals, and enable LANs to Communicate with each other.
  • They exist in an unlimited geographical area.
  • Used to Communicate to Nationwide or Worldwide.
  • Transmission medium used are Telephone Lines, microwave and Satellite links.
  • Devices used are HUB, Switches, Routers (etc.)
  • Speed of Data Transmission is 1800 to 9600 bits per second.
  • Very High Installation cost as Compare to LANs.
  • Not owned by a single organization.
  • Complex structure than LAN
  • There is more chance of errors due to the distance data travels.
  • Success Rate of Data Transmission is less than LAN.
  • (e.g.) Internet, Network of all Branches of a Bank.

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