Difference between LAN and WAN

Networking is nothing but establishing a connection between devices. A computer network is a group of computers and devices connected with each other that allows them to communicate with each other. Depending on the scope of the network, primarily, computer networks are divided into three categories – Local Area Network (LAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), and Wide Area Network (WAN). In this article, we are going to see what is the difference between LAN and WAN.

Difference between LAN and WAN in tabular form

In the following table, we have pointed out some differences between LAN and WAN.

LAN WAN
The range of the network is small such as in an office or building. This network ranges over a wide area.
The number of computers connected to the network is low. The number of computers connected to the network is very high.
The design process of this network is comparatively easy. The design process of this network is more complex.
The data transfer rate is high. The data transfer rate is low.
The propagation delay is low. The propagation delay is large.
The cost of this network is low. The cost of this network is very high.
It is easier to troubleshoot and maintain this network. It is very hard to troubleshoot this network.
This network is used as a private network. This network can be used as both a private as well as a public network.

What is LAN?

LAN or Local Area Network is a network of computers and other devices in a small area such as an office, a house, a building, or a floor of a building, etc.

This type of network consists of a low number of computers and other devices such as printers, soundboxes, projectors, etc.

LAN is a very secure network. This network uses coaxial cables, twisted pair cables, etc as the communication medium. The design of such networks is easy and the network complexity is also low. And due to the low number of devices connected and the requirement of inexpensive hardware, the cost of this network is also low.

It is used for sharing data and use of peripheral devices such as a printer, in a small place, in a secured manner.

What is WAN?

WAN or Wide Area Network is a network that expands over a large area. The area can be a country, a subcontinent, a continent, or the entire globe.

This network consists of a very large number of computers and devices. The process of designing such a network is very complex. This network can be used as both a private and public network. But making secure data transfer in this network requires complex protocols.

The cost of such networks is also very high as it requires expensive devices and components. The data transfer rate is also low in a WAN. Such networks are used where we need to transfer data to a long-distance or for broadcasting.

Conclusion

As discussed above, LAN and WAN are two very different network types. They are used for different purposes. LAN is used in a small area to connect the computers and devices and allow them to share data and resources amongst them. Whereas a Wide Area Network allows us to share data in a long-range and allows broadcasting and multicasting.

Author
Subhrajyoti Choudhury

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