LAN stands for local area network. It is a group of two or more workstaions that share a common communication line within a small defined area. LANs are typically used in the home, office or on one or more floors of a building. They have the flexibility to connect as few as two or in some cases thousands of workstations. LANs are extremely popular because of their wide applications for business and personal use. By joining workstations together, users have shared access to each other’s files or hardware such as printers or CD drives. There are many different approaches to setting up a LAN. The principal types you are likely to encounter are described in this chapter under the headings Topologies and Protocols. LANs can also be linked together
by various means to enable communication between different groups in an organisation.