LAN (Local Area Network)
A local area network (LAN) is a series of devices that are linked together in one physical location, like a house, office, or school.
A LAN may be small or big, ranging from a single-user home network to an enterprise network with thousands of users and devices in an office or school.
In this article, we will discuss more on the overview, advantages, different types of LAN, different topologies used, and the importance of LAN security.
What is LAN (Local Area Network)?
A LAN is a network of connected devices, which are present in a particular location, LANs can be located in houses, businesses, schools, or other places. Wired, wireless or both variations can be available for a LAN.
Ethernet uses a standard wired LAN for linking devices together. Usually, wireless LANs are developed with a Wi-Fi signal.
A Router can be used to build LANs for wired and wireless devices if both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections are enabled.
The primary role of the local network is to connect devices to enhance efficiency and productivity, especially at work while reducing costs.
Meanwhile, computers and other devices that operate as office workstations can operate on their own networks, both are able to access data resources on shared information and share the usage and functionality of output devices, which are often linked to the LAN network (e.g. office printer or fax machine).
How to set up a Local Area Network (LAN)?
The administrator would need a wireless router linked to a broadband connection and an Ethernet cable to connect the router to the main computer or server to create a wireless network.
This allows other computer devices that already have incorporated or connected wireless network equipment to receive wireless signals and connect to the local area network.
Examples of LAN (Local Area Network)
LAN helps users to save data on any central system from which it can be shared around the organization.
Data transfer and recovery can be conveniently achieved on a LAN network (Local Area Network), as backup files have been saved on a single server.
It is also commonly used in the following scenarios:-
- Home networking
- School networking
- Campus university
- Two computer networking
- Embedded systems
How is LAN (Local Area Network) Connected?
Ethernet networks were originally designed using coax cable, coax is an electrical wire which is used for the transmission of radio signals.
In order to exchange files and data over time, the LAN Setup was created through connections between two or more computers using physical connections.
The basic use of this cable is to connect the transmitters to their antennas. It is also used, however, to establish internet connections and distribute cable channels.
Ethernet is the most popular type of LAN development. Ethernet has proved itself to be an effective way to act as an Internet Protocol data transmission medium.
Classification / Topologies of LAN (Local Area Network)
A LAN topology demonstrates how the nodes are linked in a network.
It defines the physical configuration of devices in a geographical area or the logical process by which the system is set up.
In the LAN network, the type of topology will decide how data is being transmitted through.
Main LAN topologies are as follows:–
The topology of the ring uses a closed-loop cable that links each device and is connected to two devices.
This closed-loop generates a unique data flow so that a message can only pass in 1 direction.
Setting up a single node in the network is comparatively simple, but re-setting it will require a loop break.
As this type of topology has a continuous loop, the issue in one node may affect the entire system network.
This form of topology is based on a central hub that links all nodes. Through this hub data or messages are routed to the addressed device.
To make this link, a point-to-point link is formed between an individual node and the central hub.
This can be beneficial to consumers because it avoids conflict with the entire device if the issue is in 1 section.
However, installing this type of network involves the individual establishment of each node connections, which makes initial deployment on your LAN more difficult.
This topology is essentially based on a single communication line, which can be transmitted in both directions.
A central cable, also known as a backbone, links to all network nodes.
One of the reasons why a LAN is often used is because of its simple design, where a continuous cable length is provided, which ends with resistors at either end.
Setting up and reconfiguring this type of LAN topology is fairly straightforward and simple.
The integration of technologies used in the development of bus and star topologies forms a tree topology in which workstations connected to central hub areas are then linearly assisted by a single cable, which serves as a backbone in data transmission.
Tree networks are also regarded as a hybrid network.
LAN (Local Area Network) Devices
The LAN devices used in most homes and small offices are laptops, tablets, and smartphones connected to a network.
Smart devices may, if linked to the network, also be LAN devices. They include all sorts of game consoles, smart TVs and Blu-ray players as well as network printers and IP webcams.
Many manufacturers are now manufacturing smart washer, dryer, and ovens which, once optimized for your house network, will also be LAN devices.
Large companies and school campuses use networks that include network devices that are typically not found in the home.
These include servers, which can save and manage network access through saved passwords and are powerful computers.
Big networks also use improved network equipment, such as switches, routers, and firewalls.
In fact, these network systems do what a home router does by handling traffic and moving data to the appropriate systems, but they have sophisticated control features and can handle all connections simultaneously.
Connecting anything to a LAN does not necessarily turn it into a LAN device.
For example, if you connect a printer to a machine on your network and use your computer’s software to share the printer, the printer is not really a LAN device since it is not directly connected to the LAN.
It will then be part of the LAN if you attach a Wi-Fi adapter or connect an Ethernet cable to the same printer.
Bluetooth devices are by definition not LAN devices either because they do not use Ethernet or Wi-Fi to connect to the network.
Uses of LAN (Local Area Network)
Some of the uses of LAN are as listed below-
- An expensive resource such as Printers can be shared. This means higher quality printing is available to everyone since it is easy to purchase one or two costly, high-specification printers instead of many cheaper, lower specification versions. A topology for the bus is the cheapest in terms of cabling costs.
- It is possible to have a central backup store in one location (the dedicated file server) so that all work is saved together. An individual user can load his or her work onto any network computer.
- Data can be shared, so it is easier to upgrade too. Sharing software is a good example, however, it is still not much cheaper than having a copy for each computer since one license needs to be obtained for each copy of the necessary software.
- The central backup will take place at regular intervals, automatically. Normally, a user would be able to restore work that was lost by mistake.
- Data can be exchanged over the network. That would allow many people, for example, to work on the same project. A key to managing access to most corporate databases is setting up hierarchical system passwords to give specific users access to different ones.
- If the data being shared is in a database, many users will be able to access the database concurrently but at the same time they will not be able to edit the same information. When one user opens a document, it is locked in such a way that other users can not attempt to edit it at the same time. This avoids the chaos that would result if many persons were simultaneously trying to edit data. If the process is completed and saved by the first user, the record is relocked.
Disadvantages of LAN (Local Area Network)
Some of the disadvantages of LAN are –
- If only one or two printers service a large number of terminals, long print queues may form, which causes people to wait for the printed output. Rings provide local area networking with the fastest type.
- Safety in the network may be a problem. If a virus reaches a device, it will spread rapidly across the network, as it reaches the central backing store.
- The purchasing and installation of cable can be costly. Cable networks also have to be placed under the floor in an office so that people can not cross the floor without tripping over it. Many areas of the network may be isolated if communication cables are harmed.
LAN (Local Area Network) Security
The network must be safe once the network is set up. This can be achieved by using router security settings, secure passwords, and by frequently updating apps.
Hardware-based authentication can also be used to improve network security, such as fingerprint recognition, protection token, and complete disk encryption.
Additional security packages can be installed locally or purchased via a delivery model of software as a service (SaaS) for the security and maintenance of the network perimeter.