LAN, WAN, vs MAN: Difference and Comparison

Networking is one of the basic practices to maintain our social life, the exchange of ideas occurs as a result of networking. It allows us to connect with people from various walks of life.

However, there is a need for networking in computers as well, employees can readily exchange ideas and operate more efficiently with the use of computer networking. It is used in offices, businesses, organization and at home.

Computer networking, also, enhances the way businesses provide services to their customers and clients.

Key Takeaways

  1. Local Area Networks (LANs) cover small geographic areas, such as homes or offices, while Wide Area Networks (WANs) connect larger regions like cities or countries.
  2. Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) are intermediate in size, connecting networks within a city or metropolitan area.
  3. LANs provide faster data transfer rates and lower latency than WANs and MANs, which have higher delays and slower speeds due to the greater distances involved.


LAN (Local Area Network) is a type of computer network that covers a small area and is used in homes or small offices. WAN (Wide Area Network) is a network that covers a large area and connect multiple LANs. In between them there is the MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).


A LAN is a network that is confined inside a narrow geographic region, within the same house or building and is made up of two or more connected computers. LANs include things like home WiFi networks and small commercial networks.

A WAN is a group of LANs or other networks that connect in its most basic form.  WANs can permit connectivity, sharing of information, and much more between devices all over the world.

WANs are critical for multinational businesses, but they are also necessary for daily use.

Modem and Wire/Cable are the devices that are utilized to transmit data through MAN. A MAN is a component of a telecommunications company’s network that can offer a greater DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection to a client or a city’s cable channel.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLANWANMAN
Full-FormLocal Area NetworkWide Area NetworkMetropolitan Area Network
Area CoveredIt covers tiny regions, such as a single building or a single school.Covers a greater geographical area, such as a nation or continent.Covers a large area, such as a town.
ProprietorshipThe LAN is privately owned.WAN may not be owned by a single company.The proprietorship of a MAN might be either public or private.
Maintenance Maintenance is easy.Maintenance is difficult as compared to LAN and MAN.Maintenance is difficult as compared to LAN
SpeedHigh-speedLow speedAverage speed

What is LAN?

LAN is intended for a limited physical area, it is extensively used because it is simple to develop and troubleshoot. Personal PCs and workstations are linked via a Local Area Network (LAN).

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LANs are private networks that are not subject to tariffs or other governmental controls. There are various types of Media Access Control Methods in LANs, with Ethernet and Token Rings being the most popular.

LAN connects computers in a building, university, or other confined geographical area. With the use of a LAN, computer resources such as printers, modems, and DVD-ROM drives may be shared, lowering costs and reducing hardware purchases.

Because data is stored centrally on a server computer, it will be easier to handle data from a single location, and data will be safer in a LAN network.

Although LAN is a superior alternative for computer networking, it does have certain drawbacks, such as; A high installation cost; The LAN administrator can access every LAN user’s data; And it only covers a narrow region, therefore LAN will stop operating if you leave the range.


What is WAN?

WAN is a collection of LANs and other network types that are linked together by a router. In comparison to LAN and MAN, it covers a broad geographical region; the design and maintenance of WAN are complicated.

Satellite and public telephone networks are utilized as communication mediums in WANs, which are connected through routers. Because WAN covers a vast area, businesses and offices located at greater distances can readily interact.

It lets remote workstations or users share resources and software applications. Messages can be transmitted rapidly to anyone else on the network, and they can include pictures, music, and data (attachments).

Everyone on the network can access the same data, which eliminates the issue of some users having older data than others. WAN is a popular option for people who require a network that spans a wide range of areas.

However, WAN has some disadvantages, such as; A greater initial investment cost; Difficulty in maintaining the network, which necessitates professional technicians and network administration; And the need for a solid firewall to prevent outsiders from entering and disrupting the network.

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What is MAN?

MAN is a larger version of LAN that is supposed to cover the entire city. It can be a single cable or a means of joining multiple LANs into a larger network. It is mostly owned and operated by a single private or public corporation.

It spans towns and cities that are more than 50 kilometers apart, and the communication medium utilized in MAN is optical fibers, cables, and other similar technologies.

MAN is less expensive to connect to a WAN, it provides good data efficiency, and data can be readily controlled in a centralized manner. Because MAN employs fiber optic cables, that increases data speeds, allowing for quicker data and file transfers.

On the MAN network, we may send local email quickly and for free; it covers several city blocks or the entire city. MAN offers several advantages of computer networks but there are some disadvantages related to it such as; MAN has a higher risk of being hacked on the network than LAN;  To set up MAN, you’ll need technical personnel who know how to do it well; More cables are needed for a MAN connection from one place to the other.

Main Differences Between LAN, WAN, and MAN

1. LAN has high bandwidth whereas WAN has low bandwidth and MAN has less bandwidth.

2. LAN has less congestion as compared to WAN and MAN.

3. Propagation delay is very shot on LAN, whereas WAN has a long propagation time and the propagation delay is moderate in MAN.

4. LAN has a higher level of fault tolerance as compared to WAN and MAN.

5. LANS spans an area of up to 10 kilometers, WAN a bigger region of more than 100 kilometers, and MAN a smaller area of less than or equal to 100 kilometers.


Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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