Data Network Types
Data networks are most commonly classified as local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). You should understand the fundamental distinctions between these two network classifications.
Local area network (LAN)
A local area network (LAN) is a data network that operates across a relatively small geographic area, such as a single building or floor. A LAN connects workstations, servers, printers, and other devices so that network resources, such as files and e-mail, can be shared. Key characteristics of LANs include the following:
Can connect networked resources over a small geographic area, such as a floor, a building, or a group of buildings.
Are relatively inexpensive to set up and maintain, typically consisting of readily available equipment such as servers, client workstations or PCs, printers, switches, hubs, bridges, repeaters, wireless access points (WAPs or simply, APs), and various security devices.
Can be wired, wireless, or a combination of both wired and wireless.
Perform at relatively high speeds — typically 10 megabits per second (Mbps), 100 ...