- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 16 Oct 2019
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.
- Digital infrastructure.
- 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
Low-voltage switchgear and protective devices.
New report explores impact of independent museums.
Parents are pivotal in reaching future engineers.
What is a final account?
The situation with the insurance of vulnerable properties.
New standards for homes
Competition to address the grand challenges of future housing needs.
The redevelopment of Leicester's sewerage system by Joseph Gordon.