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Comparison Between Lan And Wan Architecture Computer Science Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Computer Science
Wordcount: 2638 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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We have been given this assignment to discuss about the awareness of technologies that are related to the internet and the topic Internet application which we have decided that my topic will be Comparison between LAN and WAN architecture. Using this topic we would have to discuss the current and latest issues that are related to the topic and subject, furthermore discuss the uses of technology and internet applications used in the topic. This topic is about the networks that are used by users across the globe they use these wondrous networks to work, communicate, do business, find information and even play games. Ever since these networks are made people are able to purchase an item or send a massage all by the push of a button. WAN is a network that is more wide in range while LAN is a network that is more limited or has a localized range, both of these networks have their perks and drawbacks and this report is about to discuss all about them including the technologies involved.


Introduce the latest issues of the topic

Discuss about the topics advantages and disadvantages

Discuss critical comments and analysis

What is LAN and WAN Network Architectures


A network is a connection between two or more computers that share information, hardware and software with each other this connection can be established via wireless or non-wireless media. LAN and WAN are two different networks that are used by users all around the world. The internet is an example of a WAN network, WAN was first created in 1969 it was first a networking project by ARPANET Pentagons Advance Research Projects Agency the main goal of the project was to allow scientists all around the globe, at different locations to share their information. Only four host nodes at the time and grew to 1000 host nodes in 1984, today there are over 350 million host nodes worldwide using the internet. The internet uses Domain name and IP address to differentiate or identify the computers connected to the internet. WAN is a network that spans over large geographical areas and is consisting of smaller networks called LAN or MAN. WAN is mostly used for business, collecting information, communication and other daily uses regardless of the user’s location. There are many ways to access the internet for example trough Wireless Internet Service Provider, Access provider where some business that provides individuals and other companies and their employees access to the internet with payment or for free.

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Local area network better known as LAN is a network that has a limited area such as a house, school, computer laboratory, workshop or a small office building. LAN is normally connected through a twisted pair cable, hub or Wi-Fi, LAN is also faster than WAN because of the small area of the network and that the network lack of the need for a leased telecommunication line, in order to share data, printers or a LAN party which means a gathering of users, computers and game consoles for a multiplayer game. In a LAN network there is the main computer called a server and remote computers called clients, a LAN connection can be wireless or wired. Wired LAN network uses cable to connect to all the computers which would like to join the network and the main device called a switch. The wireless however uses radio waves to connect with other clients.

Comparison between LAN and WAN Network Architectures

There are many differences between LAN and WAN networks, the table displayed below compares the many differences between these two everyday networks.








Owned and controlled by only one user, organization or server

Not owned by anyone or any organization

Set up costs

Set-up costs are low as the devices are low-cost

Set-up cost is higher then LAN as the there will be a monthly payment for connection, some connections are free as they are provided by companies

Data transfer rate

Higher then WAN

Lower then LAN


Use hubs, repeaters, bridges and switches

Use router, frame relay switches and multilayer switches


Telephone lines and radio waves

Often connect trough public networks example telephone lines, leased lines, satellite


LAN network encounters fewer problems as there are few systems to deal with.

Maintenance is easy, faster and cheaper than WAN

More errors are encountered in WAN as there are many systems that are at work.

Maintenance is harder, slower and tends to be more expensive then LAN

Geographical Area

LAN covers an area which is within 100meters in length

WAN covers a geographical area which is more than 100meters in length


High bandwidth then WAN is accessible

Low bandwidth is accessible

Technical Area of LAN and WAN Network Architectures

LAN: How LAN connects

LAN has both wired and wireless methods to connect to each other, most LAN networks have a cable running from every computer to a wall jack. The wall jack is connected to a very similar type of cable that runs to a patch panel in a wiring closet. A patch panel is simply cable ports that allow all of the cables coming out of each wall jack to be connected to the LAN freely. Any active wall jack must have the matching port in the patch panel connected to a switch in the wiring closet. A wiring closet is small room or area where all of the wires connect and a building that uses computer networking will have more than one of these wiring closets placed in them, these wiring closets are mainly used for LAN networking. If there are many switches in a wiring closet, they are connected to one or two switches within in the same closet. These serve to connect all of the switches there as well as some of the cable runs entering the room. The switches in a wiring closet are connected to a switch pair in a main wiring closet. The switch pair helps to connect the entire LAN together. These distribution switches connect to the routers that helps the network travel further, connect the switches to the internet or the WAN thus extending the LAN.C:UsersuserDownloadsLANArchitectureDiag1.jpeg

LAN Network: Cabling or Wired network

Coaxial cable

Cable is a medium in where information flows freely from one network device to next and then the next. In a LAN network there are many different types of cables used to connect the devices and computers in it, in the early LAN cabling system LAN used various versions of the coaxial cable. These cables are hard to install and are highly resistant to signal interference. They have a single central solid wire that symmetrically surrounded by a braided or foil conductor. Between the center wire and foil there is the insulation wire and then comes the copper mesh and the outer insulator.C:UsersuserDownloadscoaxla.gif

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Twisted-pair cable

A twisted-pair cable is a cable that is made with an interesting technique, by intertwining the two separate insulated cables together with a certain color code, by doing this process it helps blocking out the electromagnetic interference EMI that could cause problems in the information sent through it. This cable is also the most widely used cable or the most suitable one for LAN networks. There are two different types of twisted pair cable unshielded twisted-pair UTP and shielded twisted-pair STP, the difference is that the STP has a fine wire mesh that surrounds the wire to protect transmissions while the UTP does not, and this is why the UTP is more sensitive than the STP. The STP can also extend to maximum distances and can withstand most environments. This cable was used in IBMs Token Ring in LAN implementation.

C:UsersuserDownloadsutp and stp.jpg

Fiber Optic cable

Fiber optic cable is a the latest version of a LAN cable since the twisted-pair cable, this cable consists of tiny hair like fiber optic glass tubes that transmit the data which is protected by several layers of protective material called Kevlar. These hair like glass tubes transmit information or data with light signals rather than electronic signals, with this design and technology he fiber optic cable eliminates electrical interference, the cable is also known for its immunity to the effects of moisture and lightning which makes it ideal for network connections between buildings. This cable has the ability to transmit signals faster and further then both the coaxial and twisted-pair cable. However there are several disadvantages of the cable, which are the cable is more difficult to install and more costly than both the twisted-pair cable and the coaxial cable.C:UsersuserDownloadsFiber-Cable.jpg

LAN Network Topology

Network topology is the way they are assembled in which the network of computers and devices connect, each of this topology are used for a specific task and have their own advantages and disadvantages. The computers or users in a network topology are called nodes. Most network topology use a cable as a medium.

Bus Topology

The bus network topology is the simplest way to connect with multiple nodes, the bus has a single main cable that connects to other nodes, this main cable is also known as the backbone. Each node is connected one right after the other along the backbone, data or information that is sent from a node goes through the backbone until it reaches its receiving node, if an information or data sent such as an email does not reaches the receiving node it will be sent to the terminator which deletes the email completely. The bus is commonly used for implementing Ethernet at 10mbps.C:UsersuserDownloadsbus_topology.gif



Easy to connect to computer or peripheral

Backbone breaks entire system shutdown

Requires less cable length then star topology

Troubleshooting is difficult

Ring Topology

The ring network is a network topology where each node connects to two other nodes beside it forming a circle or ring and a single continuous link, the nodes are then connected to a main node or the first node. In the network information is passed from one node to the other, which means that a node acts as both the receiver and sender.C:UsersuserDownloadsRING_Topology.png



Easy to wire and install

If one node fails entire system fails

Troubleshooting is difficult when the entire network fails.

Star Topology

Star topology is the most common network topology used, unlike the previous topology network the star has a hub or switch in its center, which acts as a conduit that transmits information through the network. Every device in the network is connected to the hub. The hub does not preform filtering or routing type tasks.C:UsersuserDownloadsfigure2.jpg



Easy to modify and add new computers to network without shutting down network

Requires more cable then bus and ring topology

If one node fails the rest of the network will still function

If the hub or switch goes fails the entire network fails

Troubleshooting is easy

More expensive



NSP also known as network service provider is an organization that does business by selling bandwidth or access to networks such as the internet by providing the backbone access to the internet itself as such the NSP is sometimes referred to or also known as backbone providers or internet providers. WAN network uses NSP to connect to other networks around the world and this is how, by connecting the NSP of other WANs together using links at Internet Packet Interchanges a global communication infrastructure is formed, these interchanges are also called peering points. The NSPs do not generally handle individual customer accounts except for the major corporate customers, but instead deal with intermediate organizations that they can charge for high capacity communications. They generally have an agreement to exchange certain volumes of data at a certain quality of service with other NSPs. So practically any NSP can reach any other NSP, but may require the use of one or more other NSP networks to reach the required destination. NSPs vary in terms of the transit delay, transmission rate, and connectivity offered.C:UsersuserDownloadswan.gif


Dial-up access

Dial-up internet is a connection which is made by the modem that is built in your computer and through a standard telephones line, by running by running the telephone line to the modem the computer can connect to the internet. This dialing must be done with a specific phone number. The dial-up system is a method that has been the thing of the past as it tends to take a long time to establish a connection with the internet, when it does the internet speed will be very slow.


DSL or dial subscribe line is a family of technologies that provide internet access by transmitting data by using the local telephone lines. POTS or better known as Plain Old Telephone Service One, POTS makes the most of the telephone company’s wires and equipment is by limiting the frequencies that the switches, telephones and other equipment will carry. Human voices, speaking in normal conversational tones, can be carried in a frequency range of 0 to 3,400 Hertz cycles per second for a great demonstration of this. This range of frequencies is tiny. These telephone lines are connected by copper wires to each home.


Wi-Fi is a wireless modem that allows a computer to connect to the internet. Wi-Fi can be less secure then the cable connections as bad weather or any other electrical interferences could damage the connection. Wi-Fi has adopted various encryption technologies. The early encryption WEP, proved easy to break. Higher quality protocols WPA, WPA2 were added later. An optional feature added in 2007, called Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS, had a serious flaw that allowed an attacker to recover the router’s password.

Slow speed technology

High speed technology

Dial-up access uses a modem built in the computer that connects to the telephone line in the house to connect to the internet

Cable modem, DSL, WI-FI and satellite modems

Connection must be switched on when computer is turned on

Connection is always on, when computer is running


Critical Comments and Analysis

This assignment has been a very interesting experience, not only have I learned a lot more regarding aspects of the Internet Applications module but it has also improved my understanding regarding various issues related to Wan and Lan network architectures. I’ve come to understand that fundamental difference between them especially in the ways they function, and also in the way to set them up. Lan and Wan are two different networks architectures that are built to serve various users types and will come to play a very fundamental role as the world of information technology develops further.


The conclusion is, that LAN and WAN is two different networks yet both are just as important, these networks are used every day by everyday people like us. We use them to gather information and communicate with each other. This technology has helped develop our community and will continue developing it.


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