LAN, MAN, CAN, & PAN

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If you’re planning on taking the Network+ exam, you should have a good understanding of the different types of area networks such as a LAN, MAN, CAN, and a PAN. For example, can you answer this question?

Q. A company in Silicon Valley owns three buildings within walking distance of each other and each of these buildings are connected via a single network What is the best name for this network?

A. CAN

B. LAN

C. MAN

D. PAN

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Personal Area Network

A personal area network (PAN) is a network of devices around a single person. Bluetooth has been the traditional protocol used with a PAN. However, a PAN might use near field communication (NFC) protocols or infrared (IR) too.

Bluetooth Wireless

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless system and Bluetooth devices include smartphones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other computer devices. As an example, the Apple Watch uses Bluetooth to communicate with a user’s iPhone. The range of Bluetooth was originally designed for about three meters (about 10 feet), but the range is often farther, and ultimately extends beyond a person’s personal space.

Near Field Communication

Near field communication (NFC) is a group of standards used on mobile devices that allow them to communicate with other mobile devices when they are close to them. For example, in some cases, you can share information with a friend just by touching your smartphone with hers, or by placing your smartphone in close proximity to hers. Many credit card readers support payments using NFC technologies. For example, you can make a purchase in some establishments just by placing your phone close to the credit reader.

Infrared

Infrared (IR) uses an infrared light and is commonly used in devices such as TV remotes. It can be used with a PAN, but this isn’t as common because it requires a clear line of sight between the two devices. If the path is blocked by something as simple as a single piece of paper, it blocks the communication.

Remember This

A personal area network (PAN) is a network of devices around a single person. A common protocol used with PANs is Bluetooth.

Local Area Network

A local area network (LAN) is a network of devices within a single location. It can include just a single switch used to connect the devices and a single router used to connect the network to the Internet. Large organizations might have dozens of switches and routers, but the key is that all the devices are in the same location.

Wireless Local Area Network

A wireless local area network (WLAN) connects devices without the need for cables. It is easy to set up and can quickly connect several computers at a lower cost than it takes to create a wired network. A significant challenge with wireless networks is security. Wireless security has improved over the years, but wireless networks are still susceptible to vulnerabilities and many users just don’t understand how to lock down a wireless network adequately.

Many organizations set up hotspots for their customers. For example, a coffee shop might set up a WLAN as a hotspot allowing customers to easily connect to the Internet while sipping a cappuccino or latte. Hotspots rarely use any security, but instead are open wireless network providing easy access for customers.

Campus Area Network

A campus area network (CAN) is a network that connects multiple buildings in a small geographical area, such as a university campus. Similarly, many technology companies in Silicon Valley own several buildings spread across a small geographical area. Even though they aren’t educational institutions, people commonly refer to the area as a campus.

The following figure compares a LAN with a CAN. On the left is a single local area network with some personal computers and a server. While not shown in the diagram, this network would have at least one switch, at least one router, a firewall, and Internet connectivity. The CAN shows similar LANs in several buildings within a university campus connected together. The buildings might be connected together with physical cables such as underground fiber runs, or they could be connected with other methods such as microwave links. While not shown, the CAN would have Internet access, protected with at least one firewall.

LAN

Metropolitan Area Network

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a group of networks spread across a larger geographical area beyond the size of a campus. As an example, a network connecting several groups of networks within a city is a MAN. Similarly, if a city government has several connected networks spread throughout the city, it is a MAN. If the buildings depicted in Figure 1-9 were spread across the city, the CAN would be labeled as a MAN instead.

Remember This

A campus area network (CAN) is a network connecting multiple buildings, but in a limited area. A metropolitan area network (MAN) is similar to a CAN, but includes networks spread across city or larger metropolitan area.


 

Q. A company in Silicon Valley owns three buildings within walking distance of each other and each of these buildings are connected via a single network What is the best name for this network?

A. CAN

B. LAN

C. MAN

D. PAN

Answer: A is correct. A campus area network (CAN) is a network of multiple buildings, but in a limited area.

A local area network (LAN) connects computers in a limited area such as within a home or a single building.

A metropolitan area network (MAN) that spans a large area such as a city or a very large campus. While three buildings might be described as a MAN, it is more accurate to call it a CAN because it is only a few buildings and the same company owns the buildings.

A personal area network (PAN) is centered around a person.

Practice Test Questions To Help You Pass the Network+ Exam (N10-006) The First Time You Take It.

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