In the vast world of computers and their various parts, which connect to give us the best virtual experience, there are some important bits we tend to overlook. We love the great sound system and the crystal quality of the screen, but there’s rarely any appreciation for the cables. The cables are what hold the whole show together. There are a bunch of cables with different functions: LAN, WLAN, and WAN, among others. Let us learn about LAN in detail.
LAN is the abbreviation for local area network. These local area networks are usually used in homes, hospitals, universities, laboratories, or any sort of institution that shares a physical space. Every computer is connected to some other computer in some way, and these LAN cables are an essential part of this conglomeration. LAN networks are not necessarily small area networks; size varies. Once it expands past a certain point, it is called a wide area network, used by big corporations and governments. LAN’s origin lies in academia, as universities and laboratories needed high-speed interconnectivity.
You may be a part of a LAN, whether at home, at work, or university. It is simple to set up a local area network with the help of an ethernet cable. What is a LAN cable? There is no difference between a LAN cable and an ethernet cable or a networking cable, and therefore not much to the debate of ethernet cable vs. LAN cable. Essentially, a LAN cable connects to a computer, and network switches, which then connects to a router, or modem, which provides internet access. All these devices, as a whole, connected via a wireless LAN, form a local area network.
A local area network comprises multiple computers, connections, and hardware, so it goes that there would be multiple cables involved. The three main cables are:
- Copper Twisted Pair (also known as ethernet LAN cable or networking cable)
- Coaxial Cable
- Fiber Cable
An ethernet connection is powered by each of these cables, which have different functions and designs. The coax cable, which you use to connect the ISP to a modem, powers the connection responsible for internet access. Coax cables have in-built shields so that their performance does not falter in high frequency and EMI areas.
The twisted pair of copper cables are commonly used to connect computers, switches, routers, gaming systems, IP cameras, and more. There are different categories of these:
- Cat5e Cable
- Cat6 Cable
- Cat6A Cable
- Cat8 Cable
All these cables have different performance ratings. LAN cables are available in unshielded and shielded versions. The shielded cables are used in areas with electromagnetic interference (EMI), which are common in hospitals, anywhere with heavy machinery, and cell towers. The unshielded LAN cables are installed in homes and businesses, places with no EMI. Copper twisted pair cables are available in different types, most often seen in patch cables, crossover cables, and bulk lengths.
Fiber optic cables are similar to electrical cables and are made of optical fibers to carry light. These cables are a welcome solution to businesses, as they can carry signals over long distances. Some common fiber cables are:
- OFC - Optical Fiber Conductive
- OFN - Optical Fiber Nonconductive
- OFCG - Optical Fiber Conductive General Use
- OFNG - Optical Fiber Nonconductive General USe
- OPGW - Optical Fiber Composite Overhead Ground Wire
- ADSS - All-Dielectric Self-Supporting
- OSP - Fiber Optic Cable Outside Plant
- MDU - Fiber Optics Cable Multiple Dwelling Unit
- OGCP - Optical Fiber Conductive Plenum
When one thinks of wireless networks, the image that forms in their head is of a network that is unencumbered by wires or hardware of any kind. Surprisingly, wireless tech like this does fall under the category of a Local Area Network (LAN). In businesses and at homes, we use the most prominent wireless technology, WiFi. LAN is a way to connect numerous devices, which is possible via WiFi. Now, WiFi has become the most preferred technology because it’s so easy to use. It can be quickly set up and does not require much maintenance. Wireless repeaters and wireless routers are common WiFi devices. A LAN cable can be used to connect these devices. To connect the wireless repeater, you can connect it to the LAN port of your router. To connect a wireless router, you must connect a cable to the router from your modem. If within range, your device should receive a wireless connection. You can enjoy the internet on mobile devices like phones, laptops, and smart TVs. Wired LAN connections are preferred and recommended more for stable and reliable connectivity. Hardwiring provides a better connection for groups of users.
LANs are a part of our everyday lives; whether you are at your gaming station, enjoying Netflix on your smart TV, or designing graphics on your computer, there is a good chance that you are using a local area network. LANs are commonly set up using a LAN cable that hooks up to your device, which then switches to a modem or router. This creates a community of cables and devices, which we call LAN.
LANs may seem simple, but they can turn complicated should one local area network connects to another via something called a leased line or VPN (Virtual Private Network). Based on the size of the LAN, it can be classified as WAN (Wide Area Network) or MAN (Metropolitan Area Network).
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