Is the internet in most homes usually a LAN or a WAN?

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I'm taking a Network and OS class, and I'm so thrown off by some topics that reading even 20 websites on the subject is still confusing to me, because I'm not really seeing examples of situations when each are used.

I gathered that a LAN has computers and devices over a shared network. Does that mean

I'm taking a Network and OS class, and I'm so thrown off by some topics that reading even 20 websites on the subject is still confusing to me, because I'm not really seeing examples of situations when each are used.

I gathered that a LAN has computers and devices over a shared network. Does that mean every WiFi network you see is a LAN? What situations is it a WAN?

If you're on a WAN, does it mean that it has to be a WiFi network that can be accessed by a wide area and your network is shared with others?

I'm so thrown off by these concepts I cannot do my assignments of having do design a fictional network.

Other answer:

Kaleb13:
It is WAN (Wide Area Network – normally regarded as the Internet) where it is using your public IP address assigned by your ISP. If you have a router then it can provide you with a LAN (Local Area Network). Normally the addresses that are assigned to devices on a LAN are not allowed on the WAN, although there are exceptions.

A LAN in most homes normally connects to devices either over Ethernet cables or WiFi. More rarely USB is used, and this does not preclude other types of interface. Ethernet connections are frequently referred to as LAN, although technically this is also true for WiFi. Frequently, WiFi connections are referred to a WLAN (Wireless LAN) to distinguish them from wired connections. True WiFi is never passed over a WAN. Where public WiFi exists, this is through a router and wireless access point or hotspot, and is technically a LAN.

A few homes do not have routers and simply have a modem wired to a single computer. In those homes there is no LAN; just WAN.

For Internet in most homes, there is normally WAN and LAN. Some have WAN only.

A few have LAN only, where the WAN terminates in a hotspot outside the home. In these homes, the address at the point of presence into the home typically is in the range 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255. Since these are not allowed on the Internet, they are local addresses only.

I hope this helps.

Ianab:
LAN = Local Area Network. That is the devices connected up inside your building.

WAN = Wide Area Network. That is connections going outside your building to the rest of the world.

So your house will have both. Your Router is the device that switches the traffic between your LAN, and the WAN (rest of the internet)

A WAN doesn't have to be the internet either. You can set up your own connections to remote sites with wired, fibre or microwave links, and not use the general internet at all.

Rute:
I was once taught that thinking of the owner of the equipment helps to define a LAN and a WAN. For instance, in your own local network (LAN) you own all the equipment. You own the computers, the switches, the cables, etc. You also administer and configure these devices as needed. This is your LAN, and it consists only of equipment you own. In a WAN, you no longer own or administer the equipment. Everything on the internet is part of one large WAN. You may have access to this Yahoo website, but its certainly not yours. The routers and switches and servers that make up a WAN belong to someone else, and it belongs to their LAN. For instance, again this Yahoo page runs on a server somewhere at a Yahoo facility. That server is owned by Yahoo. The switch and the router and the firewall connecting and protecting that server all belong to Yahoo. That's their LAN, and you connect to it via a WAN connection from your ISP. Speaking of the ISP, they own all of their own switches and routers, and those devices are all on their own LAN. They will let you access those routers and switches so that you can get to the internet, but you certainly don't own that equipment.

It used to be said that distance was the deciding factor in how you determine what a LAN is vs what a WAN is. I cant agree with that concept anymore, not with today's technology. My office here in Maryland connects to an office in California over a LAN connection. That's a lot of distance, but its not a WAN. Soon, my office will connect to an office in the UK, but it will still be a LAN connection, not a WAN.

In terms of a WiFi network, yes, those are almost always a LAN. Someone setup a wireless access point on their LAN so that laptops and smartphones can connect to the LAN in order to access resources on that LAN, such as printers, files, or just plain internet access.

Joshua:
WAN is Wide Area Network, so think town or country most houses are connected to the WAN over their phone lines, the internet is a WAN. LAN is Local Area Network so usually things within the building offices, factories houses have LAN inside them.
Its the point it goes out to the internet it is usually referred to as WAN.
Mmm J:
Local Area Network = in home or office. Generally the portion of an IP (Internet Protocol) network that is the last section connected to a router.

A computer, printer or other "end point" device connects to the the router. Sometimes they connect to a network hub or switch, then to the router. Sometimes the device connects wirelessly using wifi which connects to the router. The router connects to the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Between the router at home and the router at the ISP is the WAN (Wide Area Network).

Many LANs connect to the WAN.

John:
LAN or local area network .
WAN or wide area network.
Both are networks ,which need the access key or password to connect .
The difference is range of the area that network (wifi) is cover.
the WAN mode is to connect any where at any time ,which cell phones are automatically switch to that mode or opposite .For computer is better to connect to LAN mode and router or network adaptor using Ethernet cable or Wifi system will cover the computer signals .
In fact WAN is a larger network that is provided by Server companies trough to the satellites system and serial of local Antennas ,which are distributed through to a cable system for each single users .
vic:
I think a wan connects non local computers through a wide area network and a lan does the opposite i seen lan in a can on sale, dont know if its still made
Ernesto:
lan = local area network… that is the devices connected up inside your building…

wan = wide area network… that is connections going outside your building to the rest of the world…

so your house shall have both… your router is the device that switches the traffic between your lan, and the wan (rest of the internet)

a wan doesn't have to be the internet either… you can set up your own connections to remote sites with wired, fibre or microwave links, and not use the general internet at all…

Craig:
The network (not Internet) in your home is a LAN. Through your service provider, you connect to a WAN (i.e., the largest WAN known as the Internet). Your local area network is not the Internet; you merely connect to it.
chrisjbsc:
Every home network you are connected on to is a LAN. Every network your computer is connected to is a LAN (even if you and the router are the only devices on that LAN).
The router then connects out to other routers (a bigger LAN) or to an Internet connection and the WAN.

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