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Network Sizes

January 30, 2008

Local Area Network (LAN): A LAN is a single network, confined to one building or area of a building. There may be links to other locations at the same site, but these will be localized.

Campus Area Network (CAN): CAN is a fairly new term, used to describe a group of interconnected LANs within a small geographical area, such as a school campus, university, hospital or military base.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): The term MAN is usually applied to networks that have a sociopolitical boundary; such as a network of district authority offices in a town or city. Sites on a MAN are usually interconnected using fiber optic cable or some other high-speed digital circuit (rather than standard phone lines, for example), and the MAN itself may well carry voice as well as data traffic.

Wide Area Network (WAN): A WAN is two or more interconnected LANs spread over a large geographic area, even on different continents. The Internet is the largest WAN in existence.

Global Area Network (GAN): A GAN is a single network with connnection points spread around the world. GANs are used mostly by large corporate organizations and consist of a series of networked, orbiting satellites.

Solar System Area Network (SSAN): A SSAN is a series of interconnected GANs connecting all the habitable planets and planetoids in a single solar system. Well, I’m sure we’ll see one someday!

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