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When we connect two computers to each other using a medium and no other computer is connected to them, would we call this network a PAN or a LAN? We usually connect peripheral devices in the case of PAN. What about this case?

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A PAN is generally the network of devices on your person (eg the stuff in your hands and pockets). – Synetech Feb 21 '11 at 14:44
up vote 4 down vote accepted

PAN and LAN (and WAN) are subjective terms, but the distinction I would make would be:

  • PAN: A very small network usually used by one person. The only common medium that falls in this category is Bluetooth.
  • LAN: A network that allows related computers within the same geographic area to communicate.

If you have the two computers plugged directly into each other, I would agree with Tog that they are simply linked together. You can say they are networked, but in my opinion it's a little misleading.

If the two computers plug into a switch or hub, then I would say you have a LAN which happens to only have two computers on it.

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Two computers plugged into each other is still a network, even if there is no router or switch, they still communicate as any device on any network would, its just a different organization.
WAN is of course wide area, so it involves linking many networks together over a wide geographical area, where each segment is separate not just by organization, but actual geographical distance (separate buildings, separate states, separate countries).
LAN typically refers to computers networked at a single geographical location, and this is usually a setup for an office or home in which different users will use computers on the network, whether the same machines or different ones.
PAN would be a network that all devices are used only by a single user, which is most commonly a bluetooth link, but is the same as a single person having 3 computers on a home network for which only he/she will ever use.

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I guess the description of WAN needs a modification.Its geographically wide as a country/state but buildings should be avoided.So the answer to my question is PAN? – Fahad Uddin Nov 9 '10 at 3:14
It is important to note that even with private connections to link two buildings in one city (usually done through a bridged T1 or similar concept) it still uses the phone company's WAN to do so and is therefore a WAN, even if they are neighboring buildings. I set these up for companies all the time. – MaQleod Nov 10 '10 at 5:58

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