local area network

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A network that in general is operated as a subsidiary activity by a single organization for its own exclusive use, the typical LAN having an overall size of a few kilometers or less. Normally the organization is located on a single site, or a small number of nearby sites, and the LAN constitutes a single management and naming domain. LANs generally provide high-speed (100 Mbps to 1 Gbps) data communication services to directly connected computers. Gateways are used to connect local networks to each other, or to longer-distance communication networks. Due to limited distance, controlled environments, and (usually) homogeneous implementation, local networks have very low error rates and can utilize simplified data communication protocols. See also metropolitan area network, wide area network.

Subjects: Computing.

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