Difference between LAN and Internet

Key Difference: LAN stands for Local area network. It is a computer network which is confined to a small area or location. Internet is a global network that supports communications by using a common language. It is the world’s largest computer network.

LAN stands for local area network. It refers to an individual network that covers a small geographical area. A LAN is generally owned and managed by a single organization. These networks are very helpful in connecting the users within the organization. LAN is composed of three major components –

  • Media Access Control Protocol – it refers to a protocol that is found in the MAC sub layer of the OSI reference model’s data link layer.
  • Network Topology – it denotes the type of logical or physical arrangement of nodes.
  • Network Operating System Software

LAN’s are generally categorized according to the techniques used by them for data sharing. LAN possesses high bandwidth in comparison to wide area network. The maximum speed of LAN can reach upto 1000 megabits per second. All hosts on a LAN have addresses that are a part of single continuous and adjoining range. LANs usually do not contain routers.

Internet is a global network that supports communications by using a common language. It is the world’s largest computer network. It can be described as a global information system which is logically linked by a globally unique address space. This space is based on the IP protocol or its counterparts. In 1969, ARPANET was developed as a packet switching network. It was an experimental network of computers.  Later, the TCP/IP protocols were adopted by ARPANET. Later in 1991, World Wide Web (WWW) was released.

WWW is supported by the internet. It also supports many special-purpose client/server based software systems. Internet is also known as net in short form. The internet Web physically consists of a personal computer, web browser software, a connection to an Internet service provider. In addition to these components, internet also requires some special computers that are known as servers. Servers host digital data. Routers and switches are also required to direct the flow of information.

Comparison between LAN and Internet:




Full form/origin

Local area network



It is a computer network that interconnects computers within a small area like in an office building or a school

Internet is a global network that supports communications by using a common language. It is the world’s largest computer network.


  • Easily resource sharing.
  • Data transfer rate are high.
  • Small area covered by LAN
  • Cost of setting up the network is usually low. Flexibility, low error rates and reliability of operation and simple maintenance.
  • World-wide acceptance
  • continued exponential growth

Used for :

  • information searching and access
  • information interchange
  • commercial exchanges


  • Information can be exchanged
  • A large storage disk drive acts as a central store.
  • Sharing resources like files, printers, games or other applications
  • Traditional core applications:



Remote Login

File Transfer

  • The most important application:

World-Wide Web (WWW)

  • New applications:



P2P applications

Internet Broadcast


  • Fast speed
  • Easy maintenance
  • New systems can be easily installed and configured
  • Operates within Universal WW Open standards
  • Easy communication
  • It is easy to use
  • It has the potential to establish information equality for everyone

Image Courtesy: sourceforge.net, ecomputernotes.com

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