Local Area Network (LAN) – A LAN is a network of computers that are in the same general physical location, usually within a building or a campus. If the computers are far apart (such as across town or in different cities), then a Wide Area Network (WAN) is typically used.
Wide- Area network (WAN) : WANs are either point-to-point, involving a direct connection between two sites, or operate across packet-switched networks, in which data is transmitted in packets over shared circuits. Point-to-point WAN service may involve either analog dial-up lines, in which a modem is used to connect the computer to the telephone line, or dedicated leased digital telephone lines, also known as “private lines.” Analog lines, which may be either part of a public-switched telephone network or leased lines, are suitable for batch data transmissions, such as nonurgent order entry and point-of-sale transactions. Dedicated digital phone lines permit uninterrupted, secure data transmission at fixed costs.
A metropolitan area network (MAN) is similar to a local area network (LAN) but spans an entire city or campus. MANs are formed by connecting multiple LANs. Thus, MANs are larger than LANs but smaller than wide area networks (WAN).
MANs are extremely efficient and provide fast communication via high-speed carriers, such as fiber optic cables.