A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a large computer network that usually spans a city or a large campus. A MAN Network is optimized for a larger geographical area than a LAN, ranging from several blocks of buildings to entire cities.

MAN Networks are formed by connecting multiple LANs. Thus,  MAN Networks are larger than LANs but smaller than wide-area networks (WAN).

The purpose of MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is to provide the link to the internet in the long run. MAN Network provides Internet connectivity for LANs in a metropolitan region, and connect them to wider area networks like the Internet. ” It can also be used in cable television.

The primary use of metropolitan area networks is the customer that has high-capacity needs in a metropolitan area. A MAN is intended to provide the required capacity at a lower cost and greater efficiency than obtaining an equivalent service from the local telephone company

How Does a Metropolitan Area Network Work?

Metropolitan Area Network is larger than LAN and smaller than WAN. It is generally applied to connect geographically dispersed LANs. Therefore the goal of MAN is to develop a communication link between two independent LAN nodes.

A MAN Network is usually established using optical fiber. The network is established using routers and switches. A switch is a port which is active in handling the filtration of data usually coming in the form of frames. Any switch acts as a dual-port, at one end it is handling filtration of data and at the other end managing connections.

The router is another device for facilitating the network connection. A router helps the data packets to identify the path to be taken. Hence, in other words, it keeps an eye on the data transfer. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is usually operated over an area of up to 5 to 50kms.

Characteristics of Metropolitan Area Network

  1. Network size generally ranges from 5 to 50 km. It may be as small as a group of buildings on campus to as large as covering the whole city.
  2. In general, a MAN is either owned by a user group or by a network provider who sells service to users, rather than a single organization as in LAN.
  3. Data rates are moderate to high.
  4. It facilitates the sharing of regional resources.
  5. They provide uplinks for connecting LANs to WANs and the Internet.

Uses of Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Some of the Uses of MAN are:-

  • Digital cable television
  • Used in government agencies
  • University campuses
  • Cable broadband
  • Used to connect several branches of the local school
  • In hospital (for communication between doctors, research offices, labs)
  • A network of fire stations
  • In airports
  • Networking between community colleges within the country
  • Used in public libraries

Advantages of a MAN Network

There are many advantages of the MAN network, some of them given below.

1: Less Expensive:
It is less expensive to attach MAN with WAN Network. MAN gives you good efficiency of data. All data on MAN is easily manageable in a centralized way.
2: Sending Local Emails:
You can send local emails fast and free on MAN.
3: High Speed than WAN:
The speed of data can easily reach 1000 Mbps, as MAN uses fiber optics. Files and database transfer rates are fast.
4: Sharing of the Internet:
With the installation of MANs, users can share their internet connection. In this way, multiple users can get the same high-speed internet.
5: Conversion of LAN to MAN is Easy:
MAN is a combination of two or more LAN network. So it is a faster way to connect two LAN networks together. It is possible by the fast configuration of links.
6: High Security:
MAN’s has a high-security level than WAN.

Disadvantages of MAN Network

1: Difficult To Manage:
It is very difficult to manage if the size and number of LANs network increase. This is due to security and extra configuration problems.
2: Internet Speed Difference:
As it cannot work on phone copper wires. Copper wires affect the speed of MAN.So high cost is needed for fiber optics.
3: Hackers Attack:
In this network, there is a high risk of attacking hackers as compared to LAN. So data may be a leak. Highly security staff is the need in MAN.
4: Technical Staff Requires to Set up:
Highly technical people require to setup MAN. The technical people are network administrators and troubleshooters.
5: Need More wires:
In MAN more than LAN network, cables require. As you know, it is a combination of two LANs.

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