Description of how networks normally grow from LAN to larger and then to WAN

Essay by Mehmood March 2008

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Introduction:Over the years computer networking has become a necessity rather than a luxury. These networks are classified based on their sizes, starting with Local Area Networks (LAN) and undergoing expansion to become Wide Area Networks (WAN). The discussion below therefore highlights the differences that exist between these two types of networks, hardware as well as software changes that are normally necessary for their support.

At the end of this discussion I hope to have touched on the following:•The definition of LAN and any other associated terms, and the types of hardware and software normally needed. Limitations that can be encountered in LANs and the changes, that are needed to overcome them•The definition of WAN as well as any associated terms and the hardware or software needed. Also how can WAN configurations improve, overcome the limitations in LAN and the latest technologies used in WANLocal Area Network (LAN)This is a term used to refer to a computer network that covers only a small geographicalarea, measuring about approximately a km squared.

Such networks exist in offices, homes or schools where there is normally a great demand for data transfer. Hence the rates of transfer have to be very high. In order for a LAN to exist there has to be an Ethernet for data linking as well as layer protocol or computers that are connected through switches or a router (mostly for larger LANs) or a modem for Internet access.

Ethernet: This is a standard protocol or data link for LAN and defines the number of conductors required for a connection. A conventional Ethernet network can in normal circumstances transmit data at a rate of approximately up to 10 Megabits per second.

NIC: These are used to connect the personal computer to a network, providing a physical connection between them i.e.