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A network that interconnects devices over a geographically small area, typically in one building or a part of a building. The most popular LAN type is Ethernet. LANs allow the sharing of resources and the exchange of both video and data.

  • Ethernet

    Local-area network (LAN) architecture that uses a bus or star topology and supports data transfer rates of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) or 1 Gbps (gigabit Ethernet). The Ethernet specification served as the basis for the IEEE 802.3 standard, which specifies the physical and lower software layers. Ethernet uses the CSMA/CD access method to handle simultaneous demands. It is one of the most widely implemented LAN standards.

  • Token Ring

    A type of computer network in which all the computers are arranged (schematically) in a circle. A token, which is a special bit pattern, travels around the circle. To send a message, a computer catches the token, attaches a message to it, and then lets it continue to travel around the network.

  • Virtual LAN (VLAN)

    Short for virtual LAN, a network of computers that behave as if they are connected to the same wire even though they may actually be physically located on different segments of a LAN. VLANs are configured through software rather than hardware, which make them extremely flexible. One of the biggest advantages of VLANs is that when a computer is physically moved to another location, it can stay on the same VLAN without any hardware reconfiguration.