The Importance of Local Area Networks (LAN)

A typical LAN network

A typical LAN network

A local area network, often abbreviated to LAN is an interconnecting computer network which links up computers in one building such as a school, different rooms within a home, computer laboratory or an office or offices within a building.

The term is used to describe a small localised network of joined up computers. On a larger scale a wide area network, abbreviated to WAN is often set up over a much larger area, between different buildings and sometimes stretching between different countries.

Local area networks often have superior data transfer rates to wide area networks and there is usually no need for a leased telecommunication line.

One of the most important features of a local area network is how the information is shared between computers. Previously ARCNET, Token Ring and other similar technology standards have been used to connect computers on a LAN, however, these days Ethernet (over twisted pair cabling) and Wi-Fi are now the main forms of communication technology which enables computers to share information on a LAN.

LANs used in office buildings

LANs used in office buildings

A big issue with LAN is safety and security of information shared. There is little doubt that tablets and smart phones have revolutionised learning for educational campuses, but safety is often overlooked. Network security threats and challenges on traditional port-based firewalls can be a real headache for those operating a LAN. It’s important  to ensure the LAN has application visibility and control to safeguard against harmful or inappropriate content too.

Some companies in the Healthcare sector are now using wireless LANs to access patient medical records from mobile devices at the patient’s bedside. This has potential to improve patient care and treatment accuracy, it can also reduce the overall cost of health care delivery by alleviating duplication of effort and inefficiency associated with hard copy patient records.

Many world–leading organisations like T–Mobile, Ministry of Defence, Prudential and many sections of the NHS and the public sector now employ LANs, it’s big business around the world.

Network companies offer their knowledge – from infrastructure to security, mobility and collaboration – for support everywhere the network reaches. They can also help a client choose a network with the smartest new technology built in. Typical areas where a third party network company can help a large company include: Systems Integration, Data Recovery, Application Development, It Support Services, Network Security Services and Penetration Testing.

From initial feasibility study and design, to full implementation and support, LANs help companies deliver the solutions that give their businesses advantages within communication, with no limits.

Article by Simon Lucas.

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