What is Local Area Network | LAN Features, Advantages & Characteristics

What is Local Area Network | LAN Features, Advantages & Characteristics

What is LAN?

Local Area Network is localized Computer networks used for communication between host systems. In LAN, each device shared the same IP address scheme. For example, if we use a network, all IP devices, computers, printers, IP phones, etc have the IP from the same network range.

Local Area Network

LAN (Local Area Network) refers to a region interconnected by multiple computers into computer groups. “A region” refers to the same office, the same building, the same company and in the same schools, generally within a radius of several kilometers. You can provide different services like document management, application software sharing, printer sharing, scanner sharing, workgroup scheduling, e-mail and fax communications services and other VOIP and unified communication.

History of LAN

Early LAN technologies included token ring, Ethernet, and ARCnet. These technologies were developed independently by various companies and incompatible with each other.

The token ring was developed by IBM in the 1970s and used a token-passing technique to enable devices to communicate on the network. Xerox developed Ethernet in the 1970s and used a carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) technique to enable devices to communicate on the network.

In the 1980s, LAN technologies began to evolve rapidly, and Ethernet emerged as the dominant technology. The IEEE standardized Ethernet as the 802.3 standard in 1983.

In the 1990s, LAN technologies continued to evolve with the introduction of Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. The IEEE standardized Fast Ethernet as the 802.3u standard in 1995, enabling data transfer rates of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps).

Characteristics of LAN

There are serval characteristics that are crucial for properly designing, implementing, and managing a network.

  • The coverage area is generally a few kilometers.
  • You can achieve a transmission rate of 1 Mb/s to 100 Mbit / sec or higher using different dedicated transmission mediums. The further development of LAN technology is currently being developed toward higher speeds (e.g. 155Mbps, 655Mbps, and 1000Mbps, etc.).
  • You can run multiple devices to share a transmission medium.

  • You can use the different topologies, mainly bus and ring, in LAN.
  • The communication quality is better IN LAN, and the transmission error rate is low compared to WAN.
  • Local area network supports a variety of communications transmission media, such as Ethernet cable (thin cable, thick cable, and twisted pair), fiber, and wireless transmission.
  • It has usually has low cost, installation, expansion, and maintenance, and its installation is relatively simple, with good scalability.

Characteristics of LAN

Limited geographic area

One of the main characteristics is its limited geographic area. It is designed to connect devices within a building or campus, typically covering a few hundred meters. This limited area allows for high-speed data transfer, low error rates, and minimal data loss. 

High-speed data transfer

Another key characteristic of LANs is their high-speed data transfer. Unlike wide-area networks that may rely on slower communication protocols, LANs utilize faster protocols such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi to achieve data transfer rates of up to 10 gigabits per second. 

Private ownership and control

Organizations can exercise complete authority over their network and ensure its security. Depending on the organization’s needs, it can be configured to allow or restrict access to specific resources, applications, or services. This level of control ensures that confidential information and data are kept secure, protecting against unauthorized access or data breaches.

Use of shared resources

One of the advantages of LANs is the use of shared resources, such as printers, servers, and Internet connectivity. Sharing resources is possible using standard communication protocols allowing devices to communicate and share data. 

Eliminating the need for each device to have its dedicated resource can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Common communication protocols

LANs also utilize standard communication protocols, such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, to ensure that devices can communicate with each other effectively. These protocols define how devices connect to the network, how data is transmitted, and how errors are corrected.

Functions of LAN

LAN’s primary function is to provide resource sharing and mutual communication, which provides the following main services:

  • The sharing of resources, including hardware resource sharing, file sharing, and software inventory data sharing. Users can share network system software and application software.
  • Data transfer and e-mail: Data and network file transfer is an essential feature of modern LANs not only transmit files, data, and information but also can send voice and images.
  • Improve the reliability of the computer system. LAN computers can back each other, avoiding the stand-alone system without a backup failure may occur when system failures, greatly improving the system’s reliability, particularly in industrial process control, real-time data processing, and other applications, is particularly important.

  • Easy to distribute processing: Use of network technology you can have more than one computer connected to a high-performance computer system (Server) through a certain algorithm, the larger global issues point to a different computer to complete.

Advantages of LAN

Local Area Networks (LANs) offer several advantages over other networks, making them an ideal choice for organizations looking to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity. Here are some of the advantages of LANs:

Enhanced communication and collaboration:

One of the primary advantages of LAN is the ability to enhance communication and collaboration. It facilitates easy communication and information sharing among users, enabling them to work together on projects efficiently.Advantages of LAN

Such collaborative efforts often improve productivity and faster decision-making, making LAN an excellent tool for team-oriented work environments.

Increased productivity:

By providing a shared and efficient network, they can help increase productivity. Using shared resources, such as printers and servers, reduces users’ need for their devices, saving time and resources.

Efficient resource sharing:

Local area Networks enable sharing of resources such as printers, servers, and Internet connectivity, making them a cost-effective solution. Organizations can invest in more powerful and advanced hardware and software, making them more competitive.

Cost savings:

The utilization of LAN for resource sharing can result in substantial cost savings. Organizations can reduce the costs of purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading hardware and software and minimize the need for IT support.

Improved security:

Local Area Networks can enhance security by enabling organizations to centrally manage and control their network, restricting access to specific resources, applications, or services based on user roles or authorization levels. It helps protect confidential information and data from unauthorized access or breaches.

Centralized management:

They allow centralized network management, making it easier for organizations to monitor and control the network. Network administrators can manage the network from a single location, allowing them to troubleshoot issues more quickly and effectively.

LAN Topologies

Local Area Networks (LANs) can be connected in various topologies. The selection of a topology for a network depends on its specific needs and requirements since each topology has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common topologies:

Bus Topology:

The bus topology connects all devices to a single cable known as the bus. Data is transmitted in both directions along the cable, and each device receives all the data transmitted on the bus. The bus topology is simple, easy to install, susceptible to data collisions, and difficult to troubleshoot.Lan-bus-Topology

Ring Topology:

Data is transmitted in a single direction along the ring in the topology where devices are connected. Each device receives data from the device before it and passes data to the device after it.

The ring topology is reliable and efficient, but it can be expensive to install, and a single device failure can disrupt the entire network.

Star Topology:

In this topology, a central hub or switch connects all devices. Data is transmitted from the device to the hub, and then the hub broadcasts the data to all other devices on the network.

The star topology is easy to install and manage, and a single device failure does not disrupt the entire network. However, installing it can be expensive, and the hub can become a single point of failure.


Mesh Topology:

A mesh of connections is formed in which every device is connected. Data can be transmitted along multiple paths, providing redundancy and increasing reliability.

The mesh topology is highly resilient and can handle high traffic loads, but it can be complex to install and manage.

Hybrid Topology:

A hybrid topology merges multiple topologies, such as a combination of star and bus topologies, to create a single network. This adaptable approach can be customized to suit the network’s specific requirements.

LAN Components

The Local Area Network is composed of multiple elements that collaborate to enable communication and data transfer among the devices on the network. There are two ways to connect the device with a LAN i.e.

  1.  Physically wired Cables using RJ45 connector 
  2.  Wireless Lan

A local area network may also consist of both. Below are some essential components:

LAN Components

Network Interface Cards (NICs):

A Network Interface Card (NIC) is a hardware component that connects a device to the LAN. It provides a physical connection between the device and the network, allowing it to communicate with other devices on the network.


The primary device for creating a local area network is Switch, which connects the different nodes to each other. You can check out the best LAN Switch here. They offer a centralized connection point for several devices and enable communication among them. Switches are essential for networks because they help reduce congestion, improve network performance, and enhance security.


Routers are networking devices that connect LANs or to the internet. One of their primary roles is to direct traffic between networks and guarantee that data is delivered to its intended destination.

Cables and Connectors:

Networks use cables and connectors to connect devices to the network. Typical cable types include Ethernet, fibre optic, and coaxial cables. Connectors, such as RJ-45 and BNC connectors, connect the wires to the devices and network equipment.

Repeaters and Hubs:

These are networking devices that serve to expand the range of the LAN. Repeaters amplify and regenerate network signals, while hubs provide a central connection point for multiple devices. These devices are outdated and have largely been replaced by switches.

Final Words:

LANs play a crucial role in modern computer networking. Their high-speed data transfer, efficient resource sharing, and improved security make them valuable assets for any organization. As technology evolves, it will connect people and devices, enable collaboration, and improve efficiency.

Learn more:

LAN Quiz


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Waqas Azam
Me Waqas Azam and I am a professional blogger & freelance writer. I also working in the IT industry for over 7 years. I am graduated in Computer Science and information technology.