A computer network that includes a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, it can have a LAN connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves.

A system of LANs connected in this way a wide-area network (WAN). Most LANs connect workstations and personal computers. Each node (individual computer) in a LAN has its own CPU with which it executed programs, but it is also capable of data and devices anywhere access to the network. This means that many users of expensive devices like laser printers, and data exchange.

Users can use the LAN to communicate with each other, sending e-mail or engaging in chat sessions. There are many different types of LANs Ethernets being the most common for PCs. Most Apple Macintosh networks are based in the Apple Talk network of Macintosh computers built.

The following features distinguish a LAN from another: topology: geometric arrangement of devices on the network. For example, equipment can be arranged in a ring or a straight line. protocols: The rules and encoding specifications for sending data. Protocols also determine whether the network uses a peer-to-peer or client / server architecture. media devices can be connected by twisted-pair wire, coaxial cables, fiber optic cables either. Some networks do without connecting media altogether, communicating instead via radio waves.

 LANs are capable of transmitting data at very fast, much faster than data can be transmitted to a telephone line, but the distances are limited, and there is a limit to the number of computers which can be for a LAN single attached.