12.5.5: LAN / WAN and Client Server
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LAN and WAN
While the Internet was evolving and creating a way for organizations to connect to each other and the world, another revolution was taking place inside organizations. The proliferation of personal computers inside organizations led to the need to share resources such as printers, scanners, and data. Organizations solved this problem through the creation of local area networks (LANs), which allowed computers to connect to each other and to peripherals. These same networks also allowed personal computers to hook up to legacy mainframe computers.
An LAN is (by definition) a local network, usually operating in the same building or on the same campus. When an organization needed to provide a network over a wider area (with locations in different cities or states, for example), they would build a wide area network (WAN).
The personal computer originally was used as a stand-alone computing device. A program was installed on the computer and then used to do word processing or number crunching. However, with the advent of networking and local area networks, computers could work together to solve problems. Higher-end computers were installed as servers, and users on the local network could run applications and share information among departments and organizations. This is called client-server computing.