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What distinguishes a LAN from a WAN?

A LAN (Local Area Network) is a network confined to a small area, while a WAN (Wide Area Network) covers a larger geographical area.

A LAN, or Local Area Network, is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus, or office building. It is typically owned, controlled, and managed by a single person or organisation. LANs are known for their high data transfer rates and relatively low error rates. They are typically connected using Ethernet or Wi-Fi. The primary purpose of a LAN is to allow resources to be shared among local devices such as printers, games or applications.

On the other hand, a WAN, or Wide Area Network, is a network that covers a broad area using private or public network transports. The best example of a WAN is the Internet, which can connect anyone from virtually any part of the world. WANs are used to connect LANs and other types of networks together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in other locations. WANs are often established with leased telecommunication circuits.

While both LANs and WANs are types of networks, they differ significantly in terms of their geographical scope. LANs are typically used for connecting computers and devices in a single location, while WANs are used for connecting networks in different locations. Furthermore, the speed of LANs is generally faster than that of WANs, due to the physical distance that the data has to travel in a WAN.

Another key difference between LANs and WANs lies in their management. LANs are typically owned and managed by a single organisation, giving them control over the network’s performance and security. WANs, however, are often provided by service providers and used by multiple organisations, making their management more complex.

In summary, while both LANs and WANs serve the purpose of connecting multiple devices for communication and data sharing, they differ in terms of their geographical coverage, speed, and management.

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