- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 05 Jun 2017
Local area network
Local Area Networks (LAN) are networks used to connect a number of devices that are located within a relatively small area, typically within a single building, using a privately owned network. This is as opposed to Wide Area Networks (WAN) which are used to connect devices across a large distance, such as across a city, using a dedicated connection that is provided by a network provider.
Originally driven by the growth in the use of personal computers and the need to share storage devices and printers, the evolution of local area networks was initially hampered by the proliferation of different types of LAN and a lack of standards. Ethernet is now the most widely used standard, and local area networks have become a means of communication between users as well as devices.
Ethernet originally used coaxial cable, but now commonly uses twisted-pair copper cable such as CAT5 or fibre optic cable. Wireless local area networks (WLAN) were developed for situations where cabling would have been difficult to install. However, a rapid reduction in cost and increase in speed means that wireless local area networks are now commonly available and are preferred in many situations because of the freedom they offer. Typically wireless local area networks use radio waves (such as WiFi) to connect devices.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approved document R.
- Building information modelling.
- Common data environment.
- Computers in building design.
- Global Unique IDs (GUIDs).
- ICT and Automation (ICTA) Scoping Study Report.
- In-building wireless.
- Information and communications technology.
- Internet of things.
- Power over ethernet.
- Project extranet.
- Smart buildings.
- Smart cities.
Featured articles and news
Rich opportunities lie in the jigsaw of the Highlands and Islands.
Five hugely demanding projects.
Conversion of Blairtum House, Lanarkshire
Why civil engineering is the 'best' career.
Green rating systems
Information is the lifeblood of quality management.
How PowerLottery helps industry colleagues.
Eliminating waste through blockchain.
Emerging cost contracts.
Connecting infrastructure with housing.
All about E-procurement.