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LAN vs WAN vs MAN | Difference between LAN,WAN,MAN

This page on LAN vs WAN vs MAN describes difference between LAN,WAN and MAN technologies.

This tutorial covers everything one like to know about networking basics including circuit switching vs packet switching, TCP/IP protocol fields, ARP/RARP protocol fields, what is IP address ,what is MAC address, networking devices which include hub, switch, bridge, router, gateway and firewall.

LAN stands for Local Area Network, WAN stands for Wide Area Network and MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. All the technologies are mainly used for data communication. Covers distance upto 100-1000meters.

LAN MAN WAN Network Types


LAN has smaller coverage range within the house or office premises or can at least connect from one building to the nearby building. Most of the LANs usually will have about 10 to 100 users. Multiple users in LAN time share the system. LAN has been developed to allow sharing of common resource such as printer,harddisk and modem to more than one PCs. In this scenario PC connected with common resource is called as controller through which all the users will access the resource. As the days evolve people started using LAN for e-mail system for corporate network, here one system is configured as server storing mail boxes of all the users.

Latest advancement in the LAN technology supports data rates which range from 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps till 1Gbps. LAN is designed initially as per 802 standards, later various wireless standards are evolved such as IEEE 802.11a, 11b, 11g and 11n. Currently research is to finalize products supporting IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11ad supporting very high data rates.


WAN has coverage larger than LAN and mainly used for cellular applications supporting both voice and data applications. Larger network covering entire country or state is referred as WANs. Most WANs are telephone systems. Various technologies are existing to support WAN such as WiMAX,GSM,CDMA,HSPA,LTE,fiber optics,ATM and more. Covers distance upto 1000-10 kilo-meters and also goes upto 100km.


MAN occupies coverage in between LANs and WANs. MAN has distance coverage and data rate higher than LAN, but less than WAN. This is the major difference between LAN and MAN. MAN overlaps to some extent to geographical coverage requirement of WAN. A typical example of MAN is Local Cable TV system. Here cable TV company picks up programs from satellite and delivers to individual homes via coaxial cable. Each home is a node in this network of nodes.

Networking Links

• Circuit Switching vs Packet switching   • Packet Switching vs Message switching   • What is an IP address   • What is MAC Address   • Basics of OSI and TCP-IP Layers   • What is Hub   • What is Switch   • What is Bridge   • What is Router   • What is Gateway   • Firewall basics   • TCP-IP Packet format   • ARP Protocol format  

What is Difference between

FTP vs HTTP  FTP vs SMTP  FTP vs TFTP  hub Vs. switch  TCP vs UDP 

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