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Difference between LAN and Ethernet

LAN and Ethernet are closely related terms with each other, where Ethernet is the main technology that makes the LAN concept feasible. The main distinction between LAN and Ethernet is that LAN networks work in a centralized manner, whereas Ethernet does not work in a centralized manner. Ethernet is a protocol that facilitates networking and communication among nodes in multiple networks in different contexts (LAN, MAN, WAN, etc.).

In this article, you will learn about the difference between LAN and Ethernet. But before discussing the differences, you must know about LAN and Ethernet with their advantages and disadvantages.

What is LAN?

LAN is an abbreviation for "Local Area Network". It is a form of the data transmission network that links systems or devices relatively close to one another. The connection is made via network media, and these networks are thought to be faster and more dependable than wide-area networks. A LAN network may be viewed in a constrained physical space such as a laboratory, an office, or a college campus. The primary function of a LAN is to exchange data and share the resources. LAN protocols operate at the physical and data-link layers of the OSI model.

LAN could be considered a combination of software and hardware. Hardware system contains transmission media, stations, and connecting devices, such as wires, etc. LAN software is divided into two main categories: networking operating systems and application programs. A LAN network is often owned by the entity that uses it, and it is most effective over short distances and at high bit-per-second rates. LAN has three fundamental physical topologies: ring, bus, and star. As a result, it doesn't offer privacy. However, LAN enables direct interaction of stations utilizing a basic physical medium on a point-to-point basis without the requirement for any intermediate switching nodes. An access sublayer is typically required in LANs to mediate access to the shared medium. It is also controlled, utilized, and run by a single entity.

These LAN networks are distinguished by three characteristics: network size, transmission technology, and topology. It is also categorized as a wired or wireless LAN. Initially, the LAN provided speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps with minimal latency and mistakes. A Network Interface Card (NIC) is needed for a LAN network to link a device directly to the network.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LAN

There are various advantages and disadvantages of LAN. Some main advantages and disadvantages of LAN are as follows:


  1. LAN setup is very easy and simple because the essential protocol is included in the operating system.
  2. It has a high transmission rate to meet the demands of both the system and the user.
  3. LAN users do not need their own hard disk or CD-ROM devices.
  4. It is simple to implement a security protocol to protect LAN users from hackers.
  5. It enhanced internet and data security.
  6. In LAN networks, the error rate is quite low.


  1. LANs are frequently designed for a building or apartment complex and cannot be extended to cover a larger area.
  2. Sending files from outside the network is complicated and time-consuming since transportable media like pen drives and CDs cannot be done on all network devices.
  3. If a file on the server is destroyed or crashes, all the computer systems connected to the network will have problems in operating.
  4. Unauthorized or unapproved users may compromise information and data security. The user may misuse the sensitive data and information due to a technical error or incorrectly installed internet equipment.
  5. The cost of upgrading and maintaining LANs is very high.

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is the technology that is commonly utilized in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN), and wide area networks (WAN). It was designed and developed by Xerox PARC in 1970. It was originally commercially released in 1980 and was first standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 in 1983. It is simple to learn, use, and handle. It is a low-cost implementation technique. It typically employs the Bus Topology, but it also utilizes other topologies. It is a component of the Physical and Data Layers of the OSI model. Ethernet communication systems split data streams into packets known as frames. Frames contain data about the source and destination addresses and mechanisms for detecting data errors and retransmission requests.

Types of Ethernet

Ethernet may be classified into three categories. These are as follows:

1. Fast Ethernet

It has a data transfer rate of 100 Mbps, and it communicates through twisted pair cable or fibre optic cable. Fast Ethernet has three types, including 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-FX, and 100BASE-T4.

2. Gigabit Ethernet

It has a data transfer rate of 1000 Mbps. Twisted pair cable or fibre optic cable is also used in gigabit Ethernet. In Gigabit Ethernet, 48 bits are utilized for addressing. Nowadays, it is quite a popular technique. The modern Gigabit Ethernet is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet, which has a data transfer rate of 10 Gbps. It was created to suit the needs of users, such as faster communication networks, quicker data transfer, etc.

3. Switched Ethernet

Switch Ethernet needs a switch or a hub. Additionally, this Ethernet utilizes a standard network cable instead of a twisted pair cable. Data is transferred from one device to another via fibre optic network switches without affecting any other networked devices.

IEEE 802.3 Popular Versions

There are various popular versions of IEEE 802.3 protocols. These are as follows:

1. IEEE 802.3

It was the original standard given for the 10BASE-5. It utilized a thick single coaxial wire that may be tapped by drilling into the cable to the core. In this case, the maximum throughput is 10 Mbps, BASE stands for baseband transmission, and 5 refers to a maximum segment length of 500m.

2. IEEE 802.3a

It offers the standard for thin coax (10BASE-2), which is a thinner variant in which the BNC connectors connect the coaxial cable segments. In this case, the number 2 refers to the highest segment length of about 200m.

3. IEEE 802.3b

It offers the standard for the twisted pair (10BASET) standard, which utilizes the unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper wires as the physical layer medium.

4. IEEE 802.3j

It evolved in the Ethernet over Fiber (10BASE-F) standard, which uses fibre optic cables as the medium of communication.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethernet

There are various advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet. Some main advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet are as follows:


  1. Ethernet provides far faster speeds than wireless connections. It is achievable because of Ethernet's one-to-one connectivity. As a result, 10 Gbps or even 100 Gbps may be achieved easily.
  2. An Ethernet connection offers high security.
  3. Ethernet connections are one of the most dependable connections as there are no interruptions from radio frequency. As a result, there is a lower disposition, less retardation, and no bandwidth deficit.
  4. It doesn't require a higher cost.
  5. Ethernet cable consumes less power, like Cat6. As a result, these lines are thought to be the most power efficient.


  1. If there is an issue with Ethernet, it is difficult to resolve. It is complex to determine which network causing is causing the problem.
  2. It is usually designed for shorter and lesser distances. If you wish to expand the network, you'll have to pay new charges, which are time-consuming in Ethernet.
  3. Ethernet has limited mobility. Ethernet is appropriate for usage in those situations where the device should be placed in specific locations.
  4. The number of Ethernet connections is limited. You may only connect one device if you utilize a single Ethernet connection. If you wish to connect multiple items, you must use additional lines.

Key Differences between LAN and Ethernet

Difference between LAN and Ethernet

There are various key differences between LAN and Ethernet. Some main differences between LAN and Ethernet are as follows:

  1. Ethernet is an essential technology for creating a network. In contrast, LAN is a private network that is larger in scale comparative and more reliable than Ethernet.
  2. The LAN network might be wired or wireless. On the other hand, Ethernet may only be wired.
  3. A LAN network is managed and controlled centrally. On the other hand, Ethernet is not needed to be centralized.
  4. The reliability of a LAN network is high. In comparison, Ethernet reliability is lower than LAN networks.
  5. Data is transmitted over Ethernet only when the path is unoccupied. In contrast, the LAN has no such limitations as Ethernet.
  6. LAN network utilizes several topologies, including bus, ring, star, mesh, etc. In contrast, Ethernet utilizes the bus and star topology.
  7. LAN utilizes both guided and unguided transmission media. In contrast, Ethernet utilizes guided transmission media.

Head-to-head comparison between LAN and Ethernet

Here, you will learn the head-to-head comparisons between LAN and Ethernet. The main differences between LAN and Ethernet are as follows:

Features LAN Ethernet
Full Forms TLAN is an abbreviation for Local Area Network. It has no full form.
Basic TIt is a private network that is larger in size and more reliable. It performs an important role in the creation of a network.
Control TIt is controlled centrally. It is not required to be centralized.
Reliability TIt is highly reliable. It is less reliable.
Topologies TIt utilizes the bus, ring, star, and mesh topology. It utilizes the bus and star topology.
Transmission Media TIt utilizes both guided and unguided transmission media. It utilizes the guided transmission media.
Transmission There is no limitation problem during transmission. It has some limitations during transmission.


The primary distinction between LAN and Ethernet is that a LAN is a computer system network that is geographically constrained. In contrast, Ethernet is a widely used LAN standard for connecting computer systems within a single physical location.

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