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Difference between LAN, MAN, and WAN

Networks are very important in our lives. Be it a social network or a computer network, it is essential. Social networks are essential in building cordial relationships among family, work/ office colleagues, and friends. Social relationships are built either through personal interaction or social media. Similarly, there are computer networks that help in building social relationships. These networks depend upon the speed at which the internet is provided. All these three networks, i.e., LAN, MAN, and WAN, are used for providing internet services to people. Let us discuss about them in detail.

Difference between LAN, MAN, and WAN


LAN (Local Area Network) is defined as a computer network that is responsible for connecting local areas like schools, residents, universities, etc. The main function of the local area networks is to link the computers, thereby providing access to the printers, photocopies, and other services. LAN has client-server architecture.

There are two types of LAN, i.e., peer-to-peer LAN and client/ service LAN. All these networks are connected to one central security database. It is interesting to note that LAN has wired networks, and all the computers and printers are connected through these wires. A LAN is used as an exclusive network for organizations, schools, universities, etc. One of the major examples of LAN is the computers in school. All the computers are connected through wires with one central database.


A MAN, also called the Metropolitan Area Network, is defined as the computer network that joins the metropolitan areas. MAN works either through wires/ cables or modem. Telephone company network is a common example of MAN as they provide high-speed DSL line to the consumers. The main characteristic of MAN is that it is the interconnection between several links/ networks in a metropolitan area. Point-to-point connections are used in MAN. The network size of MAN ranges from 5-50 Kms. The regional sources are often shared in MAN. It is interesting to note that MAN is either owned by a group or by a network provider. Therefore, the metropolitan area network is not that expensive. The setup is quite easy, and the internet speed is relatively high. Thus, the implementation cost is saved in MAN.


A WAN, also called the Wide Area Network, is defined as a telecommunications network that extends over a large area. The primary purpose of WAN is computer networking. The networks are linked to communicate with one another.

WAN is not associated with a particular location. It helps in communication and sharing the required information among the connections. WAN is the largest network as compared to MAN and LAN. A WAN may cover a country, continent, etc. Examples of WAN include broadband services, 3G or 4G connections, etc. Some of the advantages of WAN are that it covers a larger geographical area, the software, resources, and other information is shared, has a high bandwidth, the travel charges are reduced, etc. Now, there are certain contrasting points between LAN, MAN, and WAN. So, let us have a look at them.

1. LAN is defined as a computer network that links the local areas like schools, universities, organizations, etc. On the other hand, MAN is defined as a computer network that links the metropolitan areas. On the other hand, WAN is defined as the telecommunications network that covers a large geographical area.
2. The full form of the LAN is Local Area Network. The full form of MAN is Metropolitan Area Network. The full form of WAN is a Wide Area Network.
3. LAN is a wired network, i.e., all the computers and printers are connected through wires. The connections in MAN are connected through modem or cables/ wires. The network of WAN is connected through broadband services, 3G or 4G internet services, etc.
4. The ownership of LAN is private. The ownership of MAN might be public or private. The ownership of WAN might be private or public.
5. The internet speed of LAN is very high, i.e., 1000 Mbps. The sped of MAN is moderate, i.e., 44-155 Mbps. The speed of WAN is relatively less than MAN and LAN, i.e., 150 Mbps.
6. The maintenance cost of LAN is easy. The maintenance cost of MAN is difficult. The maintenance cost of WAN is difficult.
7. The bandwidth of LAN is high. The bandwidth of MAN is less. The bandwidth of WAN is relatively low.
8. Examples:
  • College
  • School
  • University
  • Hospital
  • City
  • Building
  • Broadband and internet throughout the country or continent.

So, these are some of the contrasting points between LAN, MAN, and WAN. Now, there are certain features regarding LAN, MAN, and WAN. So, let us have a look at them.

Characteristics of LAN

  1. It is a network owned by a private owner.
  2. Personal computers, printers, etc., are connected through LAN.
  3. LANs are very easy to design and troubleshoot.
  4. A central database is used to connect the LAN networks.
  5. The data transfer rate of LAN is 10 Gbits/s.
  6. LANs are limited to local areas.

Characteristics of MAN

  1. MAN is a larger network than LAN.
  2. The geographical area covered is larger than LAN.
  3. MAN generally covers a city. The television network is the prime example of MAN.
  4. Two or more computers are connected through this network.

Characteristics of WAN

  1. The largest area, like a country, is covered by WAN.
  2. Different metropolitan countries are linked through the telecommunications network.
  3. WAN may be interconnected in and around the world.
  4. The connection between the networks is established through telephone lines or satellites.

So, these are some of the characteristics of LAN, MAN, and WAN. All these three connections are widely used to connect different areas. Telephones and the internet are common examples of these networks. Thus, LAN, MAN, and WAN are essential networks that connect people, places, and countries together.

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