A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link and typically share the resources of a single processor or server within a small geographic area (for example, within an office building). Usually, the server has applications and data storage that are shared in common by multiple computer users. A local area network may serve as few as two or three users (for example, in a home network) or as many as thousands of users (for example, in an FDDI network).
Local area networks, generally called LANs, are privately-owned networks. They provide a useful way of sharing resources between end users. The resources such as printers, file servers, scanners, and internet are easily shareable among other connected computers in a network.
LANs are distinguished from other kinds of networks by three characteristics: