ARCHIVED: What is the difference between a LAN, a MAN, and a WAN?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Resources linked from this page may no longer be available or reliable.

A LAN (local area network) is a group of computers and network devices connected together, usually within the same building. By definition, the connections must be high speed and relatively inexpensive (e.g., token ring or Ethernet). Most Indiana University Bloomington departments are on LANs.

A LAN connection is a high-speed connection to a LAN. On the IUB campus, most connections are either Ethernet (10 Mbps) or Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps), and a few locations have Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps) connections.

A MAN (metropolitan area network) is a larger network that usually spans several buildings in the same city or town. The IUB network is an example of a MAN.

A WAN (wide area network), in comparison to a MAN, is not restricted to a geographical location, although it might be confined within the bounds of a state or country. A WAN connects several LANs, and may be limited to an enterprise (a corporation or an organization) or accessible to the public. The technology is high speed and relatively expensive. The Internet is an example of a worldwide public WAN.

This is document agki in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:19:23.

Contact us

For help or to comment, email the UITS Support Center.