local area network - Definition from the Hotspot Shield Glossary

A Local Area Network or LAN is a computer network that is spread over a small area, usually in one specific geographical location or building. A typical LAN will connect several computers or workstations together with a central server - Data can be transferred within the network and stored in the server.

The devices will be connected together across the network either physically using Ethernet cables, or wirelessly using a Wi-Fi connection. Local Area Networks are extremely effective in business environments as you can share devices like printers and copiers meaning that multiple devices will be able to use the same printer - This greatly reduces equipment costs as you do not need to buy printers for each individual workstation. As well as device sharing, a LAN can also be used to send emails and instant messages allowing for effective communication.