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LAN stands for “Local Area Network“. It is a collection of devices connected into the network in a certain location. A LAN can be wireless, wired, or a combination of the two. If wired, then LAN uses Ethernet cables to connect devices together. A wireless LAN is a network where devices talk to each other without the use of any wire.
Note: Understanding the difference between LAN vs Ethernet is one of the first steps in networking. While LAN stands for local area network, it is a network that works over a small distance, typically in one building. Ethernet is a type of networking protocol used on a LAN.
WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)
WLAN stands for “Wireless Local Area Network“. As we mentioned above, the wireless LAN is a network allowing devices to connect and communicate wirelessly. Devices on a WLAN communicate via Wi-Fi.
While it may look different, WLAN and LAN function the same way. Devices on the wireless network communicate the same way as on a wired network. The difference is how the data is transmitted.
In a LAN network, the data is transmitted via physical cable (in series of Ethernet packets), while with WLAN you are using air to transmit data via Wi-Fi 802.11 protocols.
WLAN vs LAN: Summary
LAN means wired network, WLAN refers to a wireless network.
LAN is faster and more secure than WLAN.
LAN is used in fixed networks, WLAN is used in places where devices are moved often.
WLAN is more convenient for users than LAN.
Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that allows devices to communicate over a wireless signal. Wi-Fi means “Wireless Fidelity” and this term is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance used to brand products that belong to a category of WLAN devices. It is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards, and the letters a, b, n, or ac. The versions are all compatible with each other, but connecting to an earlier version means your device will be capped at a slower speed.