Local area networks and wide area networks

There are two classifications of network:

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A LAN is geographically confined to one building or site. A WAN is spread over a wide geographical area.

LANs

A LAN is a network that is geographically confined to one building or site. Examples include networks employed by small businesses, small organisations, schools, colleges, universities and in homes.

LANs are owned and maintained by the organisation.

A local area network (LAN) with a hub/ switch connected to a server, workstations and printers

WANs

A wide area network (WAN) is a network that is spread over a wide geographical area. It can cover more than one site, or be spread across a country, or even the world.

Organisations that have more than one office or branch, such as banks, tend to use a WAN. The WAN allows the head office to communicate and share data with the sub-offices and branches. Communication is done through national telephone infrastructures or via wireless transmission. Each office or branch has its own LAN that is connected together using the WAN.

The internet is essentially a huge, international WAN.

A wide area network (WAN) connecting three local area networks, each containing a server and workstations