Network 101: Understanding Local Area Network (LAN) 

Local Area Network or known as LAN, is a series of devices and computers under a certain location. These computers/devices connect to the local area network with a use of wireless network or Ethernet cable. 

Both office and home settings may have a LAN connection. If computers, tablets, routers, or wireless printers connect via a wireless connection, then they are part of a LAN. They are also recognized as authorized devices made by the user. Authorized devices are the only ones who’ll have access to your LAN. 

Today, we’ll discuss more about local area network (LAN) and how it’s such a game changer; both commercial and private use. 

LAN Features 

Local Area Networks can be in different sizes. Small companies have numerous computers, file storages, and printers that are all connected under one LAN. Larger LANs connect computers and other devices that are controlled by a server that shares data between computers, stores media files, and runs files to scanners and printers.

The difference between a LAN and other forms of networks is that with LAN, all devices linked are under the same location, such as offices, homes, or schools. All devices located in the same building like printers, computers, etc. connect to a router with a LAN cable via a wireless network. What is LAN cable? It is a certain type of cable used for connecting computers in a network. 

Types of LAN 

These are the two major forms of LAN: 

  • Peer to Peer — A type of LAN that does not contain a central server and can’t support heavy duties like a server LAN. Computers and other devices share files and resources equally in the network through a wireless or wired router connection. Also, most home settings use peer-to-peer network type of LAN. 
  • Client/Server — This type of LAN uses multiple clients (devices) attached to a central server that manages printer access, file storage, and network traffic. A client device can either be a tablet, a personal computer, or other devices that store and run software applications. For this to properly work, devices must connect to the server either through wireless or LAN cables through wireless connection. 

Required Equipment for LAN Set Up

These are the needed equipment when connecting your LAN. Some or all equipment are included: 

  • Network Interface Card — Every computer has this type of card inserted into a slot. Wireless NIC card operates at maximum speed of 11 Mbps or more and can be very expensive. As for wired networks, NIC cards can go up to 10 or 100 Mbps and is less expensive. 
  • Switches — You can make use of switches rather than hubs. Switches allow you to split LAN that is getting more of the segments or way too large in terms of obtaining data. It also helps diminish network traffic by designating messages directly to a computer where it is intended to be transmitted. This process is contrary to what hubs do. Hubs transmit all data to all nodes. 
  • Hubs — Generally, hubs are used to link computers. Hubs are referred to as repeaters in a sense that they gain signals from the junctions attached to them and transmit signals to other junctions. When choosing for hubs, determine the number of ports you need as well as the speed of your network. If expansion is needed in the future, you can connect hubs together. 
  • Cables — Cables are known as twisted-pair. A category 5e type of cable which comprises of four twisted-pair sets per cable. It is commonly used for LAN connection, especially today. 

LAN Hardware Set up

Every LAN connection must have a network topology, regardless if it’s for home or office installation. Network topology is a process of connecting computers in a server. Apart from this, you also need to consider about network equipment, such as wires, interface cards, hubs, etc. These are the common LAN topologies

  • Star topology — This is the most popular type of LAN topology. The hardware setup is like this: every computer holds a Network Interface Card (NIC) that connects to a central hub through a LAN cable. The cabling type is mostly Category 5, which is a twisted pair type of cable, wired with RJ-45 connectors. 
  • Peer-to-peer wireless — This type of topology broadcasts data frames to all devices within range, however they are mostly consumed by computers for which they are designed to. This is a feasible set up if you share files and direct printers or scanners amongst client computers. 
  • Wireless access — A wireless platform can serve as an access entry for more than one wireless clients. These clients (devices) can be set up to transmit network signal towards an access point directly, rather than accessing every client within range. This is a useful set up for end-to-end connections between two establishments. 
  • Roaming and Wireless access (multiple) — Wireless network can be set up as a different cell. Numerous cells can be combined together and is called Controlled Wireless LAN. Every access point of a cell serves as a bridge in this set up. 

All data from one cell to another are transmitted without modifying the MAC address’ node. It also enables users to go from one cell to another regardless if they are out of range. Communication between cells through wireless LAN will still continue.


Considering how convenient it is in terms of sharing media files, messages, and storage access from one client to another, LAN will always be a necessity. Whether for small or large businesses, LAN is feasible for connecting numerous computers and other devices under one server. User has the control to restrict access to all data to authorized users only for security. Just ensure to set up your LAN properly and correctly.