What is LAN?

by sogrow team

What is a LAN?

First, let's be clear: we say "one" LAN and not "one" LAN. I know many of you must have known the phrase "We are making a LAN". "From the 90's, but this is wrong... The acronym" LAN "actually stands for" Local Area Network "or" Local Network. " A LAN is a group of computers and devices connected to a specific location. Devices can be connected to the LAN with an Ethernet cable or a WiFi signal. Even without knowing it, your home surely has a LAN. If your smartphone, PC, TV or console is connected to the Internet via WiFi, they are part of your LAN. Only devices authorized by you have access to your LAN.

A Brief History of LAN


LAN technology first appeared in American universities in the 1960s. These computer networks were then used to exchange library catalogues, student plans, and school notes. 4,444 companies did not realize the value of LANs until 1976 when Xerox PARC developed Ethernet technology. Chase Manhattan Bank in New York was the first to use this technology commercially, and in 1980 hundreds of companies used the LAN to network hundreds of computers, printers, and storage media.

After the democratization of Ethernet, companies such as Novell or Microsoft implemented software that used these LANs. Since then, these tools have become indispensable, and the use of the LAN is now standard on all consumer computers.

90s Games

If you are a 90s kid who played network games with your friends, you have probably used a LAN at some point. These networks were widely used before the advent of online games to create local network games so that you could play with your friends who were connected to the same network. Yesterday's connections weren't strong enough to provide the speed needed to play an online game, so we had to meet in the same place and connect to the same local network to play together.

Properties of a LAN 

LANs can be very different sizes. A group of devices connected to a personal router is a LAN. The network of an SME with its NAS and its printers is also a LAN. Large companies set up huge LANs that gather hundreds of machines and are managed by a LAN server that handles file distribution and storage on the local network. 

The LAN network differs from other conventional Internet networks: all devices connected to the same LAN network are located in the same geographical point (home, university, office). These devices are connected to a router on a so-called "local" network via WLAN or Ethernet.

2 Types of LAN 

When it comes to LAN, there are two different types: client/server LAN and peer-to-peer LAN.

Client/server LANs are networks in which all devices are connected to a central server. The server manages file storage, printer access, and network traffic. The "client" is the tablet, smartphone or computer that you are connecting to. The client connects to the server via an Ethernet cable or via WLAN.

Peer LANs do not have a centralized server and cannot handle heavy networking or client/server networks. In a peer-to-peer LAN, all connected devices have the same weight on the network. The devices are connected to the router via Ethernet or WiFi to share their data. Most home networks are peer-to-peer networks.

Using a home LAN

A local network is an excellent means of communication between the different devices connected to the house (PC, smartphone, tablet, printer, console ...). When your devices are connected to WiFi, you can share private files with family members, print documents wirelessly from any device (including mobile), or even access shared files from another device.

A LAN can also be expanded to include security systems, smart TVs, home automation items, or 2.0 connected devices. When these systems are added to a LAN, they can be controlled from any device connected to the network.