What is a Local Area Network (LAN)? 

Your Local Area Network (LAN) is an important part of your organisation. It is how your devices interact with each other internally. The way your LAN is set up can affect how well your connection performs. Your LAN components can be a reason you are not getting the maximum benefits of your new ultra-fast broadband connection. 

In this post we will explain what exactly LAN is and provide some examples to give you an even clearer understanding. We will then outline what you can do to make sure you get the most out of new ultra-fast broadbands available. 

What is LAN? 

Local Area Network (LAN) is a group of devices in a single location (like an office) connected over a network via ethernet cables or wirelessly. 

A LAN is usually confined to a single building, this can be your House, Office or a School. There are also Wide Area Networks (WANs) and Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). The main difference is that a LAN covers a single limited area. WAN and MAN on the other hand extend to greater regions and can often connect multiple LANs together. 

Your LAN will typically be made up of various cables, access points, switches and routers that enable devices to connect to internal servers and each other.  

The simplest example of a LAN would be your home where all of your devices like Phones, Computers, Tablets, Smart TVs or Printers can connect with each other over your Wi-Fi network. 

Why is LAN Important? 

LAN is important because it is how all your devices communicate internally. It allows all your devices to use a single internet connection, share files easily, be controlled by other devices on the network and use devices like shared printers. This greatly improves productivity and streamline many integral business processes. 

As everything in your Office, Home or Restaurant is connected using a LAN. Faulty or Outdated components can cause major disturbances or throttle your Broadband speeds significantly. 

For example, you may be paying for a brand new FTTP connection that enables speeds up to 1000Mbps. However, due to your LAN configuration, an outdated switch, router or ethernet cables you might be throttled down to a maximum of 100Mbps. 

Therefore your LAN should be something you review regularly whenever you invest in new technology. This way you can make sure it will not be minimising that technology’s potential. Below are 4 components you can examine to see if they need upgrading or replacement. 

4 LAN Components that can affect your Speeds 

  1. An old or cheap and low quality router can slow your internet speeds considerably. If your router is a chokepoint then you will not see the full benefits of upgrading to a better broadband plan. 
     
    Therefore if you are not getting the speeds you’d expect from your new FTTP connection, you can start by checking your router. You might need an expert to help you and replace the router for a better and newer model. 
  1. The ethernet cables you use for your Local Area Network is another component that could be throttling your speeds. For example if you are still using CAT3 or CAT5 cables which were designed for 10Mbps and 100Mbps speeds, chances are they will not be able to handle much above that. 
     
    You should check what Category Ethernet Cables you are using and upgrade them to a CAT6 or higher to unlock the full potential of your Gigabit connection. 
  1. You might have an outdated or faulty Network Switch. A very old Network Switch can only handle 10Mbps while newer models allow 100Mbps. Meanwhile modern switches can handle 1000Mbps (Gigabit) speeds.  Check how old your switch is and if it is capable of handling your new Gigabit connection. 
  1. Your end device. Your phone, laptop, computer or anything else you are using can also limit your speeds. For example, older phones might only be able to handle up to 100Mbps. The same can apply to laptops or computers with older Wi-Fi adapters. 

What if you upgrade your Broadband?

Your LAN will likely need some upgrading if you plan to switch to a Gigabit capable connection. You can do a lot of this yourself by examining a few key components outlined above.  

If you need help you can always talk to one of our experts and Globe2 and schedule a review of your Local Area Network before committing to a brand new FTTP or similar plan. 

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