Difference between LAN and MAN

Key Difference: LAN stands for Local Area Network. It is a computer network that interconnects computers within a small area like in an office building or a school. On the other hand, MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. It is a computer network that interconnects computer within a city or a large campus. MAN can be defined as an outgrowth of LAN.

LAN stands for Local Area Network. It is a computer network that works within a relatively small area. One can find it confined to a school building or a small office. Most of the LAN networks connect computers like workstations and personal computers. There are numerous types of LANs. One of the important characteristic of LAN is that it should be able to provide high bandwidth, high speed and high capacity communication.

LANs can be structured by using various topologies. The topology can be of two types – physical and logical. In physical type of topology, the organization of wires is considered. On the other hand, in the logical topology the emphasis is on the logical behavior of the network. There are numerous addressing schemas like Unicast, Multicast and Broadcasting. Bus, ring and star are the most common types of topologies used by LAN networks.

MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. It is a computer network that interconnects computer within a city or a large campus. MAN differs from LAN as the network of LAN spans over a larger physical area than a LAN. However, it is smaller than a wide area network. Generally, MAN is owned and operated by a government body or a large corporation.

MAN networks are implemented by modern techniques like the fiber optic cable which is through subway tunnels. Implementation of MAN is done by using technologies like Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), FDDI, and SMDS.

Comparison between LAN and MAN:

 

LAN

MAN

Full form

Local Area Network

Metropolitan Area Network

Definition

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

It is a computer network that interconnects computer within a city or a large campus.

Characteristics

  • Easily resource sharing
  • Data transfer rates 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
  • The network size falls intermediate between LANs and WANs
  • Generally, not owned by a single organization
  • Mostly it acts as a high speed network for sharing of regional resources
  • Fiber-based and technology neutral resilient networks

Distance

Within a few kilometers

It spans a city and its suburbs

Ownership Typically owned and controlled by a single person or organization Typically owned and operated by a single entity like a government body or a large corporation

Image Courtesy: abdn.ac.uk

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