LAN is short for Local Area Network. It’s hard to define this, as it can mean slightly different things to different people.
Generally, a LAN is the network, along with connected devices, in a local area. By ‘local area’ I mean something like:
- The network in your home
- The network in a small business
- The network on one floor of an office building
So a simple definition would be that a Local Area Network is a collection of networked devices in a local area, like a single building or one floor of a single building.
But not everyone will like that simple definition. Think of a school with lots of IT equipment. Some people will cover the entire network at the school as the LAN. Others will consider the network in each building, while others will say that individual areas, like computer rooms, are each a separate LAN.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that this does not cover the part of the network that connect different geographic areas together. For example, connecting offices in different cities together.
This is a WAN, which is a different topic.