How to understand difference between LAN and WAN.

How To Understand Difference Between LAN And WAN.

In the world of computer networking, two fundamental types of networks play a pivotal role: Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). LANs are the networks you encounter on a daily basis in your home or office, while WANs are responsible for connecting those LANs across larger geographical distances. This article aims to shed light on the key differences between LANs and WANs, illustrating their respective purposes, technologies, and applications.


LAN vs WAN: Difference Between Them

Here are the main differences between LAN and WAN



Tend to use specific connectivity technologies, like ethernet and token.

WANs uses technologies like Frame Relay and X.25 for connectivity for the longer distances

LAN is a computer network that covers a small geographic area, like a home, office, or group of buildings.

WAN is a computer network that covers a broad area. For example, any network whose communications links cross-regional and metropolitan boundaries over a long distance.

There is a need to set up a couple of extra devices on the network, so it is not very expensive.

In WAN networks as remote areas have to be connected, hence the set-up costs are higher.

LAN has a higher data transfer rate.

WAN has a lower data transfer rate as compares to LAN.

Ownership of LAN is private.

WAN’s ownership can be private or public.

The speed of LAN is high.

The speed of WAN is slower than LAN.

The propagation delay time is short in LAN.

The propagation delay in WAN is long(longer than LAN).

It offers more fault tolerance.

It offers less fault tolerance in WAN.

Its design and maintenance is easy.

Its design and maintenance is difficult.


Application of LAN

Here, are some common applications of LAN:

  • One of the computers in a network can be assigned as a server, which allows managing all other computers.

  • LAN allows software to be stored on the server and which can be used by all the users of the network.

  • It helps you to connect all the workstations in a building to let them communicate with each other locally without the need of internet access.

  • Helps to share resource like printers and scanners

  • Software developers can also use LAN network for sharing development/testing tools within an office or within a factory with the help of the client-server model of the networking system.


Application of WAN

Here, are some common applications of WAN:

  • The head of the department of corporate office wants to share some data with their regional office associates, and then they can share data by saving it on the centralized node.

  • Military operations need a highly secured network for communication. WAN is used for this scenario.

  • Railways reservation and airlines use WAN networks.

  • Dean and the lecturer of the university can easily share data or resources with each other as they share one common network.

  • WAN allows workstations to be connected locally, which helps each node to communicate with one another without having any internet connection.

  • The resources like printers, scanners, hard-disk, and fax machines allow you to share all the nodes publicly.


Advantages of LAN

Here are pros/benefits of using LAN:

  • Computer resources like hard-disks, DVD-ROM, and printers can share local area networks that significantly reduces the cost of hardware purchases.

  • You can use the same software over the network instead of purchasing the licensed software for each client in the network.

  • Data of all network users can be stored on a single hard disk of the server computer.

  • You can easily transfer data and messages over networked computers.

  • It will be easy to manage data at only one place, which makes data more secure.

  • Local Area Network offers the facility to share a single internet connection among all the LAN users.


Advantages of WAN

Here, are pros/cons of using WAN:

  • WAN helps you to cover a larger geographical area therefore business offices situated at longer distances can easily communicate.

  • Contains devices like mobile phones, laptop, tablet, computers, gaming consoles, etc.

  • WLAN connections work using radio transmitters and receivers built into client devices.

  • Shares software and resources by connecting with various workstations.

  • Share information/files over a larger area.



In summary, LANs and WANs serve distinct purposes in the world of computer networking. LANs are localized networks designed for close-range communication, offering low latency and high data transfer rates. They are commonly found in homes and offices. On the other hand, WANs connect LANs across larger geographic areas, providing the means for global connectivity, albeit with potentially higher latency and lower data transfer rates.

Understanding the differences between LAN and WAN is crucial for individuals and businesses alike, as it influences the choice of network infrastructure, connectivity options, and the overall user experience in our increasingly interconnected world. Whether you’re setting up a home network or managing a multinational corporation’s network, grasping the distinctions between LANs and WANs is fundamental to effective network design and operation.