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Teracom Tutorial: LAN

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Teracom Tutorial: LAN

Technologies for connecting computers within a building are called LANs.

Local Area Networks (LANs) are a way of implementing multidrop or multipoint data circuits within an office. LANs started to become popular in 1980, and have now become the standard method of implementing circuits to connect equipment. 
One of the original requirements for a LAN was to connect computers in an office to a shared laser printer.  This requirement has generalized to connectivity between devices and the sharing of resources, including hardware resources such as hard disks and surveillance cameras; information resources such as centralized databases; software resources such as network address configuration programs; communication resources such as WAN circuits and other resources.
Ethernet Switches, a.k.a. Layer 2 or LAN switches, creating broadcast domains with hardware; and VLANs, defining broadcast domains in software, are now the basis for the core of the telecom network: the backbone is now Optical Ethernet, no longer SONET and ATM.
The same Optical Ethernet technology is used for 10 Mb/s to 150 Mb/s fiber to the home or small office, and 40 Gigabit service to large office buildings.

The original design for a LAN used a bus topology and coaxial cable.

Topology is the way the system looks viewed from the top, its layout. 

Bus comes from electrical power distribution systems: a power distribution bus is a thick bar conducting electricity, for example, the bar in a circuit breaker panel to which all of the circuit breakers are attached. 

In LAN terminology, this term was borrowed to mean a cable running down an office building hallway connecting a floor full of PCs.  As illustrated in the graphic, all of the PCs, or workstations, terminals, devices or simply stations were connected to the bus. 

The bus implemented a multi-drop broadcast circuit: stations transmit on the bus and all stations listen to the bus; anything any station transmits is received by all of the other stations.
For this reason, the LAN is said to form a broadcast domain: any station has the possibility of communicating directly with any other in the broadcast domain without the need of other equipment or protocols.

The bus was replaced by a passive hub, which was then replaced with a switching hub, Layer 2 switch, Ethernet switch, or simply switch.
All of this is covered in detail in Chapter 11 of our famous instructor-led Course 101: Telecom, Datacom and Networking for Non-Engineers. We examine Ethernet and how it evolved into 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T and Gig-E, cable categories, switches and VLANs... in plain English.
This topic is also covered in detail in Online Course 2211 "Ethernet, LANs and VLANs".
Free lessons on LANs and on LAN cable categories are on the online courses previews page.
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