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Difference Between LAN and WAN

September 7, 2022

Computer networks are groups of computers connected together via a common communication protocol. A computer network consists of two or more devices (computers) communicating with each other over a communication medium such as wires, radio waves, optical fibers, etc. The Internet is a most popular example of a computer network.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that connects computers together in a small geographic region. LANs allow users to share files, printers, and other devices over a short distance. A LAN may connect two offices, a group of workstations at a single office, or even a home network.

image showing the network LAN

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A wide area network (WAN) is a computer networking technology that provides connectivity between computers over a distance. A WAN is commonly referred to as a LAN (local area network).

A WAN uses dedicated connections to connect computers across a larger geographic region than a typical local area network (LAN), such as connecting offices in different cities.

image showing the network WAN

Difference between LAN and WAN

LAN refers to Local Area Network.WAN refers to Wide Area Network.
LAN is used to connect computers in a building.WAN is used to connect computers anywhere in the world.
LAN covers a limited area.WAN can cover more distance.
LAN has a fast transmission rate. Its speed is typically from 10Mbps to 1000Mbps.Data transfer speed is slow in WAN. Data transmission rates are typically 56kbps to 50Mbps.  
LAN is less costly.WAN is expensive.
LAN is usually connected through wires.WAN is usually connected through telephone lines.
The connection in a LAN is permanent using wires.The connection in WAN is not permanent.
LAN is used to share files and hardware devices like printers, and modems.WAN is used to share only data and information i.e. an email, or files.
LAN has less possibility of data transmission error.WAN has a higher possibility of data transmission error.
In LAN, problems commonly occur due to cable disturbance by the end users.In WAN, problems commonly occur due to communication problems in the medium.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between LAN and WAN?

LANs use direct cabling, wireless radio, or infrared signals to connect computers in a small area.
WANs use long-distance transmission media such as phone lines, microwaves, or satellites.

Why LAN is faster than WAN?

WAN covers a large geographical area, but the transmission speed of LAN is faster than LAN. Because LAN covers a small area. The data transfer speed of LAN is (1000Mbps) and WAN is (150Mbps).

What is WAN used for?

WAN is used for a large geographical area. It is used for communication and sharing of information between different devices all over the world.