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Friday, October 12, 2012

What is a LAN


Networks can take many different physical forms. The main categories of networks are:


PAN - Personal Area Network - Used to connect wireless devices carried by a person
(e.g. PDA, mobile, etc.). Bluetooth technology is
currently the prime contender for this

LAN - Local Area Network - Used to connect computers in a building

MAN - Metropolitan Area Network - Used to connect computers in a town/city

WAN - Wide Area Network - Used to connect computers whatever their location

If I need a LAN, what type will I need?

Home LANs generally come is three forms (topologies). These are:

Direct PC to PC - Two PCs connected with a single UTP (Unshielded Twisted pair)
cable (known as a crossover cable)

Star - Two or more PCs connected with UTP cables. The PCs are not
directly connected, instead they are connected via a hub(s):

Bus - Two or more PCs connected via a single connection
(made up of several subsections)

The main differences between each:

Direct PC to PC Star Bus USB wLAN

Cost Cheap Ranges from Fairly cheap Expensive Expensive
cheap to fairly
cheap but more
expensive than
direct and bus

Speed 10 or 100 10 or 100 10 or 100 Up to 10 Up to 11
Mb / sec Mb / sec Mb / sec Mb / sec Mb/sec


Max number 2 Unlimited 'Unlimited' 128 Unlimited
of nodes (devices)

Resilience Very high High Medium High Fairly High

Ease to diagnose Very quick Quite quick Can be Can be Very quick
and troubleshoot and easy and easy difficult difficult and easy


Compatability Very Very Very May not be May not be
compatible compatible compatible compatible compatible
with some with some
versions of versions of
LINUX and LINUX and
other OS's other OS's 
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