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What is a LAN

LAN is short for local area network. While LANs are common in the workplace, it's also easy to set up a small home network with two or more computers connected through a broadband Internet router or a LAN hub. Setting up a LAN provides a number of advantages, such as being able to easily share files or printers and other peripheral devices between the connected computers. You can also set up a LAN for playing multiplayer video games. Windows 7 makes it easier than ever to set up a small home network thanks to its new "HomeGroup" feature.

When you open "Computer" from the start menu in Windows 7, you'll see a small icon labelled "Network" in the left-side pane of the Explorer window. Clicking on this will show devices and computers currently connected to your network. Most homes with Internet access these days use a broadband router to connect to the Internet. Each computer in your house is connected to this either using a network cable or a wireless connection. The router also acts as a network hub, allowing any devices connected to it to communicate with each other as well. In order for this to be made possible, however, it is necessary to change a few settings which enable file and printer sharing. If you don't have a broadband Internet connection at home, you can still use a broadband router to have a local network, regardless of Internet connectivity. If you only want to connect two computers, you can connect them directly to each other by using an Ethernet crossover cable.

LANs are useful for many reasons. You can share many types of hardware as well. For example, if you have a network-enabled printer, you can print from any computer which is connected to the same network rather than having to transfer the files to a specific computer in order to print them. There are also network attached storage (NAS) devices available for both home and business use. These are network hard drives which you can, for example, use for storing all of your movies and music for easy access from any computer in your home.


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