WAN / LAN / WiFi

LAN

LANs or Local Area Networks are the most common type of network for small businesses. They consist of 2 or more PC’s connected to each other via an Ethernet switch. While it is possible to build a network without one, most small business networks have a server of some sort. These are called server / client networks. Networks without a server are called peer-to-peer networks and should be kept to 4 computers or less.

WAN

WANs or Wide Area Networks are used in conjunction with LANs and in many cases WLANs. WANs are large networks that in most cases use the Internet to connect smaller LANs with each other. This usually happens when you have a company that has multiple offices that need to share information. In addition, WANs can be set up to allow home based workers and mobile workers to access information just as if they were sitting at their desk in the office.

WLAN

WLANs are Wireless Local Area Networks that allow computers to talk to each other using wireless radios. WLANs can exist on LANs to extend access to mobile devices such as notebook and tablet computers, printers, PDAs and smartphones and even devices such as televisions and DVD players. While WLANs can be very convenient and inexpensive to set up, they are also far less secure than a standard LAN. Since a WLAN transmits your information using a wireless signal, anyone with a wireless network adapter can pick up your signal. In a properly configured WLAN the data traversing the wireless network is encrypted. Because of these potential security issues it’s best to have a trained professional install and configure your wireless network.