Difference between MAN and WAN

A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a medium-sized network but it covers a larger area than a LAN. It often covers multiple cities or towns. In contrast, a Wide Area Network (WAN) is a much larger network than LAN and MAN. A WAN in general is a network of local area networks (LANs) that link to other LANs via telephone lines and radio waves.

Go through this article to find out more about MAN and WAN and how they are different from each other.

What is a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)?

A MAN is comparable to a local area network (LAN), with the only exception that a MAN spans a larger geographical area. As a result, MANs are more extensive than LANs but smaller than wide-area networks (WANs) that span 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.

What is a Wide Area Network (WAN)?

A WAN is a computer network that connects multiple locations across a large geographic area, albeit it may be limited to the boundaries of a state or country. It can be restricted to a single firm (a corporation or organization) or open to the public. The technology is both high-speed and low-cost. A WAN is a network of local area networks (LANs) that link to other LANs via telephone lines and radio waves.

WAN connections can include both wired and wireless technologies. Wired WAN services include carrier Ethernet, commercial broadband Internet links, etc., whereas wireless WAN technologies include cellular data networks like 4G LTE, public Wi-Fi, satellite networks.

  • Switched WAN and Point-to-Point WAN are the two forms of WAN. A switched WAN is an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network, whereas a point-to-point WAN is a dial-up connection linking a home computer to the Internet.
  • Designing and maintaining a WAN is tough. A WAN's fault tolerance is lower than a MAN's, and the network is more congested.
  • PSTN or Satellite Link is a WAN communication medium.
  • Noise and inaccuracy seem to be more prevalent in WANs due to long-distance transmission.
  • Because of the increased distance and number of servers and terminals, the data rate of a WAN is about a tenth of that of a LAN. WAN speeds range from a few kilobits per second (Kbps) to several megabits per second (Mbps) (Mbps).

One of the most severe issues here is propagation latency. Optic lines, microwaves, and satellites are the devices utilized for data transmission over the WAN.

Difference between MAN and WAN

The following table highlights the major differences between a MAN and a WAN.

Definition MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. It is a medium-sized network that can cover a broad area such as cities and towns. WAN stands for Wide Area Network. It connects countries and spans a broad geographic area. As an example, consider the Internet.
Speed The speed of data transmission in a MAN is higher than that of a WAN. The speed is less as compared to MAN.
Delay Network Propagation Delay is average in MAN. Network Propagation Delay is high in WAN.
Congestion MAN has moderate congestion as compared to WAN. WAN has high congestion than LAN.
Fault Tolerance Fault Tolerance of MAN is higher than WAN. Fault Tolerance of WAN is lower than MAN.
Maintenance Designing and maintaining a MAN is complex and costly. Designing and maintaining a WAN is more complex and costly than MAN.


Both MAN and WAN are computer networks that differ in terms of the geographical area they cover. MANs are medium-sized networks that cover a larger area than a LAN. A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a much larger network than a LAN or a MAN.