- LAN stands for Local area network
- A LAN is a group of devices in the same broadcast domain.
- Group of computers located physically close to each other (no more than a few hundred meters apart). They are usually within the same room, building, or on the same campus.
- Almost always a broadcast domain (all nodes receive broadcast frames from every other node)
- WAN stands for Wide Area Network
- Widespread group of computers connected using long distance technnologies. Routers connect LANs to a WAN. A WAN would be if you’re connecting to another city or country.
- A WAN generally connects LANs across a distance and are generally much slower than the LAN.
- WAN technologies include point to point serial, MPLS, etc. Connections can be via fiber or copper in the ground, going from your location to another location. It’s also common to have satellite communication connecting a WAN.
PAN stands for Personal Area Network. A PAN is in your immediate area. It’s your own private network. For example, if you’re using Bluetooth, IR, or NFC then you are most likely using a PAN.
MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. A MAN is a network across the city or small region. A MAN is larger than a LAN but often smaller than a WAN. A MAN is usually managed by one central network provider in your area, which allows them to connect one remote site to another remote site that might be on the other side of the city. A MAN is generally used to connect several LANS together to form a bigger network.
WMN stands for wireless mesh network. It’s a connection of wireless access points. A WMN is common in our homes for home automation systems and IoT devices. In a WMN all devices connect together. Devices in a WMN self form and connect to eachother automatically. WMN networks can self heal. If one device goes down, the network reacts automatically and there are many other ways for the remaining devices to communicate with each other.
There are many different network technologies in a WMN including 802.11, Zigbee, Z-Wave, etc.