Acronym for local area network. A group of computers and other devices dispersed over a relatively limited area and connected by a communications link that enables any device to interact with any other on the network. LANs commonly include PCs and shared resources such as laser printers and large hard disks. The devices on a LAN are known as nodes, and the nodes are connected by cables through which messages are transmitted. See also baseband network, broadband network, bus network, client/server architecture, collision detection, communications protocol, contention, CSMA/CD, network, peer-to-peer architecture, ring network, star network. Compare WAN.
Local Area Network. A network that takes advantage of the proximity of computers to offer relatively efficient, higher-speed communications than long-haul or wide-area networks.
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