Difference between LAN and MAN

Both LAN and MAN are computer networks that differ in terms of the geographical area they cover. LANs are private networks limited to a particular geographical area in the range of a few kilometers, while MANs cover a larger area that can span multiple cities and towns.

Read through this article to find out the major differences between a LAN and a MAN.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A Local Area Network is a private network that connects computers and devices within a limited area like an office, a building, or a campus. On a small scale, LANs are used to connect personal computers to printers. However, LANs can also extend to a few kilometers when used by companies, where a large number of computers share a variety of resources like hardware (e.g. printers, scanners, audiovisual devices etc.), software (e.g. application programs), and data.

  • A LAN is a computer network limited to a particular geographic area. A switch, or stack of switches, connects a group of computers and devices using the TCP/IP protocol's private addressing mechanism.

  • Private addresses are distinct from those of other machines on the local network. Routers are used to connect the LAN's edge to the wider WAN.

  • Data is transmitted at a high-speed rate because the number of computers linked is limited. The connections must, by definition, be high-speed, and hardware must be reasonably inexpensive (such as hubs, network adapters, and Ethernet cables).

  • LANs are privately owned and span a smaller geographical area (restricted to a few kilometers). It can be used in various settings, including offices, residences, hospitals, and schools. The setup and management of a LAN are straightforward.

  • Twisted pair and coaxial cables are utilized as a LAN communication medium. Because it only traverses a limited distance, the inaccuracy and noise are kept to a minimum.

  • Data speeds on early LANs ranged from 4 to 16 Mbps. Today's rates are often 100 or 1000 megabits per second. In a LAN, the propagation delay is relatively short. Larger LANs can accommodate thousands of computers, whereas smaller LANs may only employ two computers.

  • A LAN usually uses wired connections; however, wireless connectivity can also be used. A LAN's fault tolerance is higher, and the network is less congested.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A Metropolitan Area Network is a larger network than a LAN. It often spans a larger geographical area and covers multiple cities or towns. It is quite expensive and a single organization may not own it.

  • MANs are more extensive than LANs but smaller than wide-area networks (WANs), covering enormous geographic areas and connecting users worldwide.

  • MANs are often very efficient and can communicate quickly across high-speed carriers like fiber optic cables. The advent of wireless and subsequent networking technologies, on the other hand, has resulted in a profusion of signal delivery modalities throughout a larger MAN area.

  • Because it is a medium-sized network, a MAN is excellent for a wide range of network users. Cities and towns employ MANs to establish networks with high data connection speeds.

  • A MAN's functioning mechanism is comparable to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), but a single company does not own it. A MAN, like a WAN, offers its users with shared network connections. A MAN primarily works on the data link layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) paradigm, which is Layer 2.

Difference between LAN and MAN

The following table highlights the major differences between LAN and MAN.

LAN stands for Local Area Network. It is a network that connects a group of computers across a short distance.
MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. It covers a broad geographical area, such as cities and towns.
LAN is often owned by private organizations.
MAN ownership can be private or public.
A LAN's transmission speed is quite fast.
The transmission speed of a MAN is slower than that of a LAN.
Network Propagation Delay is negligible in LAN.
Network Propagation Delay is average in MAN.
LAN has low congestion as compared to MAN.
MAN has moderate congestion than LAN.
Fault Tolerance
Fault Tolerance of LAN is higher than MAN.
Fault Tolerance of MAN is lower than LAN.
Designing and maintaining a LAN is easy and less costly than MAN.
Designing and maintaining MAN is complex and more costly than LAN.


To conclude, LANs are private computer networks that connect the devices in a small area, whereas MANs are relatively bigger networks that can cover a larger geographical area such as cities and towns.

Updated on: 22-Aug-2022

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