Acronyms: Branching out

What makes an ethernet network a MAN (metropolitan area network) or a WAN (wide area network) isn't always clear.

What makes an ethernet network a MAN (metropolitan area network) or a WAN (wide area network) isn't always clear.

Both UnitedNetworks and CityLink consider themselves to be MAN ethernet operators.

"We don't get caught up in terminology," CityLink's Richard Naylor says.

United's Sean McDonald says "the way I define a WAN is when you have one company with multiple branches connected to the network. When you have different companies wanting to connect to the same network at high speed, that's a MAN."

Online encyclopedia whatis.com defines a metropolitan area network as "a network that interconnects users in a geographic region larger than that covered by a large LAN but smaller than the area covered by a WAN. The term is applied to the interconnection of networks in a city into a single larger network which may then also offer connection to a WAN. It [MAN] is also used to mean the interconnection of several LANs by bridging them with backbone lines -- this is also referred to as a campus network."

According to whatis, a WAN "is a geographically dispersed network [which] may be privately owned or rented, but the term usually connotes the inclusion of public (shared user) networks".

In the US, there is another variation on the LAN-MAN-WAN trichotomy, the NAN (national area network).

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