Local Area Network (LAN) VS Wide Area Network (WAN)

LAN and WAN are two different kinds of network connections used for communication between the devices attached to a particular network. LAN stands for Local Area Network, and WAN stands for Wide Area Network. In a LAN computers are attached to each other using a network device such as a hub, switch or router. Following is the versus of LAN and WAN.

Local Area Network (LAN)

Abbreviation of:
Local Area Network
Definition:
LAN is the local area network that covers the small geographical area. i.e. a network established in hospital building etc.
Includes:
Small offices, organizations, schools, hospitals, homes, etc.
Communication Speed:
LAN is very much fast, and normally it speeds ranges up to 1000 Mbps.
Data transfer rate:
LANs have higher data transfer rate as compare to MANs and WANs.
Devices Used:
In LANs, most of the times layer 2 and layer one devices are used which are switches and hubs respectively.
Cost:
LANs are low in setup cost as compare to WANs. Maintenance cost is also low.
Bandwidth:
In LANs high bandwidth is present for communication.
Congestion:
Less congestion
Ownership:
LANs are usually owned by a single person or are in possession of organization.
Examples:
The network established in a school or office building is LAN.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

Abbreviation of:
Wide Area Network
Definition:
WAN is the wide area network that includes several LANs connected with each other. It is cover a wide geographical area such as cities, states, etc.
Includes:
Large wide areas such as cities, states, countries, continents, etc.
Communication Speed:
WANs possess less speed than LANs maximum up to 150 Mbps.
Data transfer rate:
WANs possess low data transfer rate as compared to LANs and MANs even.
Devices Used:
In WANs layer 3 (Network Layer) devices are used which includes routers, multilayer switches, ATM, etc.
Cost:
WANs are expensive regarding Setup and maintenance both.
Bandwidth:
In WANs low bandwidth is present for communication as compared to LANs.
Congestion:
More congestion
Ownership:
A WAN is not particularly owned by a person or organization. The shares are divided among the partners.
Examples:
The Internet itself is the best example of a WAN.

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