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.
 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
IHBC book review: Charles Barry’s monumental struggle to rebuild the Houses of Parliament.
Read about RSHP's British Museum extension which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize.
Read our introductory article to building a house extension.
More updates from DCMS about the large-scale testing of cladding systems and the number of buildings affected.
UandI secure resolution to grant planning consent for major new regeneration project.
IHBC article considers how heritage is dealt with when infrastructure schemes are authorised.
It was the tallest structure in the world for 3,800 years, but to this day the exact construction techniques are a mystery.
Shortlist for the industry's most coveted award announced.
Government responds to Mark Farmer's review of industry, rejecting the call for a levy on clients.
Peter Hansford to examine what wider lessons can be learned from the fire.
Every project is subject to uncertainty. How can construction better understand uncertainty for performance improvement?
MAD Architects reveal their designs for a futuristic campus for electric car manufacturer.
Homebuyers could borrow more with better forecasting of energy bills, according to industry consortium's new report.