Difference between LAN and MAN

A computer network is a group of computers connected with each other in a particular fashion to share data and the usage of peripheral devices amongst themselves. Considering the range of the network, computer networks can be divided into three categories that are – LAN or Local Area Network, MAN or Metropolitan Area Network, and WAN or Wide Area Network. In this article, we are going to discuss what is the difference between LAN and MAN.

Difference between LAN and MAN in tabular form

In the following table, we have described the differences between LAN and MAN.

Local Area Network (LAN) Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
LAN ranges in a small area such as a house or an office. MAN ranges in a large area such as a town or a city.
The number of devices connected within this network is low. The number of devices connected to this network is high.
Coaxial cable, twisted pair cable, etc. are used as communication media. High-speed fiber-optic cables are used as communication media.
This network offers high-speed data transfer. The rate of data transfer is comparatively lower for this network.
Due to the low range the propagation delay for this network is also small. As the range of this network is higher than LAN, the propagation delay is also larger.
LAN is easy to design and maintain. MAN has a relatively complex design and it is harder to maintain.
A LAN costs lesser than a MAN. A MAN network costs more than LAN.
The ownership of the network belongs to a person or a private group. The ownership of this network may or may not belong to one corporation.

What is Local Area Network?

Local Area Network is a small network of computers that covers a small space. That space is usually an office, a school or college, a building or a house, etc. The ownership of this network belongs to a person or a private group. That is why this is a very secure network and data privacy is well maintained in this type of network.

A local area network uses coaxial cables, twisted pair cables, etc. as communication media. Due to the small range, the propagation delay is low in this type of network. This type of network offers high-speed data transfer. It requires inexpensive components and has a relatively simple design process. That is why the cost of a LAN is low. LAN is used to share private information and to share the usage of peripheral devices such as scanners, printers, etc.

What is Metropolitan Area Network?

Metropolitan Area Network is an interconnection of multiple LANs over a large area such as a city or town. This type of network uses coaxial cables, fiber optic cables, etc. as its communication media. As the range of this network is large, the cables are also lengthy, so the propagation delay is large. It also reduces the speed of data transfer. The design process of a MAN is more complex than LAN. This type of network also requires expensive components and long connecting cables. This is why the cost of such a network is high.

The ownership of a MAN belongs to one or more organizations. A MAN is used to share private information within one or more groups or organizations by interconnecting multiple LANs. But the process of maintaining the privacy of data is more complex in this network.

Conclusion

MAN can be considered as a group of LANs. LAN is used to connect computers within a small area for a group or organization. MAN is used to connect LANs of the same or different organizations.

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