Describe the difference between a LAN and a WAN.

LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network) are two types of networks that differ primarily in their geographical scope, size, and the technologies used. Let's dive into the technical details of each:

  1. LAN (Local Area Network):Technologies used in LANs:Advantages:Disadvantages:
    • Scope: LANs are limited to a small geographic area, typically within a single building, campus, or a cluster of nearby buildings.
    • Topology: LANs commonly use a bus, ring, star, or mesh topology, with Ethernet being the most prevalent technology.
    • Speed: LANs typically have higher data transfer rates compared to WANs, often ranging from 10 Mbps (Ethernet) to 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet).
    • Distance: The maximum distance between devices on a LAN is limited, typically within a few kilometers. Beyond this distance, signal degradation and latency become significant.
    • Ethernet: A widely used LAN technology employing protocols such as TCP/IP.
    • Wi-Fi: Wireless LAN technology based on IEEE 802.11 standards.
    • Token Ring: An older LAN technology that uses a token-passing protocol.
    • High data transfer rates.
    • Low latency.
    • Easier to manage and maintain.
    • Limited geographical coverage.
    • Susceptible to congestion as the number of devices increases.
  2. WAN (Wide Area Network):Technologies used in WANs:Advantages:Disadvantages:
    • Scope: WANs cover a larger geographical area, connecting LANs that may be located in different cities, countries, or continents.
    • Topology: WANs often use a point-to-point or star topology, with technologies like leased lines, MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).
    • Speed: WANs typically have lower data transfer rates compared to LANs. Speed can vary widely based on the technology used and the distance covered.
    • Distance: WANs can span vast distances, connecting remote locations globally.
    • Leased Lines: Dedicated point-to-point connections, such as T1, T3, or E1 lines.
    • MPLS: A protocol-agnostic routing technique commonly used in WANs for efficient data transfer.
    • VPNs: Securely connect remote locations over the internet.
    • Wide coverage area.
    • Can connect geographically dispersed LANs.
    • Lower data transfer rates compared to LANs.
    • Higher latency due to longer distances.