A network allows computers to connect and communicate with different computers via any medium. The LAN, MAN, and WAN are the three types of the network designed to operate over the area they cover. Those are some similarities and dissimilarities between them. One of their various differences that is quite important is the geographical area they cover, such as LAN covering the smallest area; and MAN covers an area larger than LAN and the largest in WAN.
Even, LAN networks rely on the hardware and communication devices owned by them for the transmission. As compared to, this could not be possible in case of MAN and WAN which are obliged to use public, private, leased communication hardware as these networks are spanned across a magnificent area.
Definition of Local Area Network
The Local Area Network or LAN links network devices in such a way that personal computer and workstations can share data, tools, and programs. The data transmitted at a very fast rate as the number of computers linked are limited. The LAN’s cover a smaller geographical area and are privately owned. That one can use it for an office building, home, hospital, schools, etc. LAN is easy to design and maintain.
The communication medium used for LAN has twisted-pair cables and coaxial cables. This covers a short distance, and so the error and noise are minimized. The LAN can be configured in the ring, bus and star topology. Where the ring topology is prevalent in the Token Ring LANs of IBM and bus is widespread in Token Bus and Ethernet LANs.
This is a broadcast network where the message is sent to all the connected hosts as all the host share the same transmission medium (wire). The broadcasting can be done in two ways statically and dynamically. According to the static technique, the hosts are provided with a definite time slice for transmitting the information. Until in the dynamic method the hosts can flexibly send the frame at any particular time.
Definition of Metropolitan Area Network
The Metropolitan area Network or MAN covers a larger area than that of a LAN and smaller area as compared to WAN. These connect two or more computers that are apart but resides in the same or different cities. This covers a large geographical area and may serve as an ISP (Internet Service Provider). It’s hard to design and maintain a Metropolitan Area Network.
This is costly and may or may not be owned by a single organization. The data transfer rate of MAN is moderated.
Types of MAN
MAN can be categorized into two types: DQDB and SMDS.
- DQDB (Distributed Queue Dual Bus): This is considered as a dual bus configuration refers that each host in the network would be linked to the two backbone network lines.
- SMDS (Switched Multimegabit Data Services): The SMDS connects different LANs and permits packets to transfer to any other LAN on the SMDS. It is a high-speed MAN which uses packet switching as a datagram service.
Definition of Wide Area Network
The Wide Area Network or WAN is a computer network that spans over a large geographical area. The WAN could be a connection of LAN connecting to other LAN’s via telephone lines and radio waves.
The Wide Area Network may or may not be privately owned. The Communication medium used for wide area network is PSTN or Satellite Link. When we use the WAN network for long-distance transmission. The noise and error are then higher in the WAN. This dissemination delay is one of the biggest problems faced here.
On the contrary of LAN, WAN uses switching that allows multiple computers to connect with several switches instead of connecting with each other. This also uses the store-and-forward concept to transmit packets, where packets are stored in a buffer on a temporary basis then forwarded to the destination by following the predefined path.