Local Area Networks (La Ns) Essay

1520 words - 6 pages

Local area networks (LANs).

DEFINITION

The concept of local area networks (LANs) is not new. It represents a
logical development of computer technology. With the advent of
microcomputers in the 1980s many office workers began bringing their
own disks into work, compromising data integrity. They also began
keeping their own databases, which companies did not like. The answer
was to create a computer network.

A computer network is a group of computers connected together enabling
users to share resources and communicate with each other. Resources
can be hardware, software, or data. Without a network, each employee
might require a dedicated printer connected to his workstation or
individual copies of application software loaded on his workstation. A
network will also allow dissimilar computers to communicate and share
resources. This means that an IBM PC can communicate with an Apple
Macintosh with ease.

There are three general types of networks: Local Area Networks (LANs),
Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), and Wide Area Networks (WANs). They
are described or classified by the area of coverage and by the method
of information exchange. A LAN encompasses two or more computers
connected by one or more types of medium (usually wire) located within
close proximity of each other. This distance is generally limited to 2
kilometers. A MAN is a network that connects two or more LANs. It is
basically a larger version of a LAN and it's distance is generally
limited to 50 kilometers. An Air Force base network is considered a
MAN. WANs link LANs or MANs by using long distance communication links
leased or purchased from telecommunication companies without any
distance limits. The Internet is a good example of a WAN.

There are also Wireless networks, which are not constrained by wire
and, therefore, can be used in places where it is difficult or
impossible to install wire. It is viable in such situations as
building to building connections or for setup of temporary LANs. This
technology involves using light or radio waves to replace the wire or
fiber optics as a transmission medium. Wireless systems that use light
have the advantage of high speed and high security but are susceptible
to obstructions such as rain, fog, dust, and of course, walls. Radio
frequency systems use low power spread spectrum transmission that, in
many cases, can penetrate walls. Because they are radio frequencies
they can be detected by someone with sensitive equipment and can be
interfered with. The cost for each wireless node is generally higher
than a conventional LAN node.

LAN devices

Today, LANs use sophisticated programs that permit several users to
work with the same resources at the same time. This can include hard
disk drives, printers, plotters, software, etc. LANs are composed of
various components performing specific tasks so each user can access
shared resources. Generally, every component in a network is called a
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