Local Area Network: Components & Features

Local Area Network: Components & Features


A local Area Network is the type of computer network which is relatively smaller and privately owned network with the maximum span of 10km. To provide local connectivity within a building or small geographical area.

Above all the network, Local Area Network is very popular and effectively used in private and small offices to share resources and exchange information. It is the smallest network than MAN, WAN. And most importantly, both wired or wireless communication can be used in (Local Area Networks)LANs. Twisted pair cables are the most common carriers of the information in this network.

The most common topologies used are bus, ring, and star. Traditional LANs run at speeds of 10 to 100Mbps, have low delay and make very few errors. However modern LANs may operate at higher speeds, up to hundreds of megabytes per second.

Features of LAN

  • Used for limited geographical limits.
  • A limited number of user can access the LANs, usually around 5 to 10.
  • LANs tends to be reliable but wrong or improper installation leads to network failure.
  • LAN provides flexibility. We can add different devices on the same network.
  • It can be expanded easily. More nodes can be added. However, it completely depends on the network topology.
  • Security and Administration are handled by the LAN administrator. He/She takes care of addition/deletion of a user, creating password, providing authorizations and permission to other resources for example printer and backing data.

Components of LAN


LAN is made up of hardware as well as software components.

Hardware componets of LAN

  • Transmission channel
    • Twisted pair cable
    • Coaxial cable
    • Fiber-optic cable
    • Radio wave
  • Servers
    • File server(used to share storage space for file).
    • Printer Server(used to handle printing work).
    • Modem Server(used to share expensive resources).

Software Components of LAN

In short, the software components includes the drives for all peripherals and LAN operating system that manages the network. Some popular LAN operating system are

  • Novel Netware
  • PC Netware
  • Ethernet
  • Arc Net
  • Token ring etc.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy installation and handling
  • High data transmission rate
  • Flexible and growth-oriented
  • security against illegal access to the system.
  • High reliability.
  • Allow sharing of expensive resources.


  • The financial cost of LAN is still high in comparison to others alternatives.
  • Some control on the part of the user is lost. For example sharing of the printer with others.
  • Installation and management require skill and experience.

Example of LAN

  • The small office having at most 5 to 10 workstations.
  • School/College computer lab.
  • Cybercafe etc.

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