What a MAN is
A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a large computer network that usually spans a city or a large campus. A MAN is similar to a local area network (LAN) in a sense that it connects computers together in a certain area. A MAN is on a much larger scale than a LAN, however it does not cover as large of an area as a wide area network (WAN). A LAN is used in office buildings, schools, and rooms, a MAN is used primarily in cities, and a WAN is used over a state, province or country.
Metropolitan area networks typically connect businesses to businesses and businesses to wide area networks. In addition, MANs connect close proximity LANs to one another at high speeds. A MAN is made switches and routers and usually covers a few dozen kilometers. A government body or large corporation typically own a MAN.
Other uses of a MAN
Another form of a MAN is used by telephone companies in the form of SONET rings. This type of network is based on time division multiplexing, which is less common for the use of data than it is for voice transfer. Users can connect into the SONET ring by using a device known as an ISDN line. An ISDN (integrated services digital network) line is advantageous over the telephone as it transfers data as well as speech. This type of technology is relatively expensive, which is why it is used by large corporations rather than individuals. The Sirius- Xm satellite radio corporation utilizes this type of data and voice transfer for some of its radio programs.
Some Examples of MANs
Typical examples of a MAN are a network of fire stations or a chain of community colleges within the same county. MANs are also used in large cities, such as New York.
What the future holds
Currently wireless LANs, also known as wireless fidelity (wi-fi), are increasing in popularity. The advantages to wi-fi technology concern people who travel frequently and need internet access in airports, restaurants, and hotels. A similar advancement would be the application of WiMAX to MANs. This would allow wireless data to be transferred over long distances, such as in a heavily populated city. WiMAX has a communication range of up to 30 miles, which coincides with the area a metropolitan area network can cover.