A Local Area Network, also known as a LAN, is a string of separate computers linked directly with a cable. One single processor or server acts as a hub, managing the flow of information between all the computers. These unified workstations can share files, applications, and data storage. A LAN administrator authorizes the sharing of files by multiple users and the permission to edit these files. The scope of a LAN is usually small, such as an office area, where a LAN is used to link together multiple workers in the same building. However, some LANs cast a much wider net, gathering together thousands of people over larger areas through the use of fiber optic lines. Such LANs are called Fiber Distributed Data Interfaces, or FDDIs . Other LANs are run on Ethernet connections, ARCNET connections, or the Token Ring connection, which transmits data through every computer on the LAN until it reaches the intended recipient. LANs are also popular as a way for several people play computer games together or against each other without being hampered by potentially slow Internet access speeds.. In addition to providing a common resource for files, applications, and data storage, the LAN can act as a Web server. When using a LAN as a Web server, you may want to install special software, called a firewall, that protects your site from unwanted tampering by an outside source.
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