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What is a metropolitan area network?

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A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a computer network that spans a metropolitan area, typically a city, providing high-speed data communication services such as video, audio, and data transfer between multiple Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). MANs are larger than LANs but smaller than WANs, generally providing communications via fiber optic cable. The main purpose of a MAN is to connect different LANs in a city to share resources and exchange data.

Some key features of MANs include:

  • Size: MANs serve a large geographical area, ranging from several buildings (such as a college campus) to an entire city.
  • Interconnection: MANs interconnect multiple LANs across a large area, allowing users to share resources and exchange data.
  • Speed: MANs offer high-speed data communication services, with applications providing higher speed (from 1 gigabit per second to 100 Gbps) and lower latency than would be possible over a WAN.
  • Security and Scalability: MANs can face security threats such as hacking, malware, and unauthorized access, and scalability issues can arise as the network grows and more users are added, leading to performance issues.

MANs have various applications, including connecting users with computer resources in a geographic region of the size of a city. They can also be used in smart city concepts, where a MAN may be a large number of privately owned or telecommunication provider interconnects between buildings and infrastructure

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