Ask Difference

Lan vs. Internet — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 8, 2024
LAN (Local Area Network) is a private network within a limited area, such as a home or office, for sharing resources, while the Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers worldwide for data exchange.
Lan vs. Internet — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lan and Internet


Key Differences

LAN (Local Area Network) is designed to connect computers and devices within a geographically limited area, such as a building or campus, enabling users to share resources like files and printers. On the other hand, the Internet is a vast network that connects computers globally, allowing them to communicate and share data across long distances. LANs are typically owned, controlled, and managed by a single organization or individual, providing a high level of security and fast data transfer speeds within the network. In contrast, the Internet is a public network without a single owner, making security a more complex issue due to its open nature and the diversity of its users.
While LANs use networking technologies and devices such as Ethernet cables, switches, and routers to create a localized network environment, the Internet relies on a complex infrastructure that includes a vast array of routers, servers, and data lines to connect local and wide area networks (WANs) around the world. LANs offer the advantage of easy management and troubleshooting due to their limited size and scope, whereas managing and maintaining the Internet involves multiple stakeholders, including ISPs, government bodies, and international organizations.
Data transfer within a LAN is typically free of charge, after the initial setup and maintenance costs, because it doesn't require data to travel over external networks. However, accessing the Internet may incur costs, depending on the service provider and data usage plan. The primary purpose of a LAN is to enable the efficient sharing and management of resources within a private network, enhancing productivity and collaboration among users. Conversely, the Internet's main function is to provide access to a wide range of information, services, and resources, facilitating communication, information retrieval, and commerce on a global scale.
Privacy and security within a LAN can be tightly controlled through the use of firewalls, passwords, and encryption, given its private nature. The Internet, however, presents broader security challenges, necessitating the use of advanced protective measures such as antivirus software, firewalls, and secure browsing practices to safeguard against cyber threats.

Comparison Chart


Limited to a small geographic area (e.g., home, office).
Global network connecting millions of computers.


Typically owned and managed by a single entity.
No single owner; managed by various organizations globally.


Sharing of resources like files and printers among connected devices.
Facilitating global communication, information exchange, and access to online services.


Easier to manage due to the network's private nature.
Complex due to the network's public and vast nature.


Costs mainly involve initial setup and maintenance.
Accessing may incur costs based on data usage and service plans.

Compare with Definitions


Managed by a single organization or individual.
The IT department is responsible for managing the company's LAN.


A global network for data exchange between computers.
The Internet connects millions of people worldwide.


A network connecting computers within a limited area.
The office's LAN allows employees to share files quickly.


Requires protective measures for security.
Using antivirus software is essential for safe Internet browsing.


Private network for sharing resources in a specific location.
Our LAN facilitates printer sharing among all departments.


Incurs costs based on service provider plans.
Our home Internet plan charges based on data usage.


Offers high-speed data transfer within its network.
Transferring files over the LAN is faster than over the Internet.


Relies on a complex infrastructure of routers and servers.
Data travels through numerous routers before reaching your computer.


Utilizes Ethernet or Wi-Fi for local connectivity.
The library's LAN uses Wi-Fi to connect all public computers.


Enables access to web services and information.
Researchers use the Internet to access academic journals.


A system that links together electronic office equipment, such as computers and printers, and forms a network within an office, building, or group of buildings


The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies.


A local area network; a network{3} connecting computers and word processors and other electronic office equipment within a small area, to create an inter-office system, typically within one building or one site of a corporation. Contrasted to WAN, a wide-area network.


A publicly accessible system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.


A local computer network for communication between computers; especially a network connecting computers and word processors and other electronic office equipment to create a communication system between offices


Alternative case form of Internet


(uncountable) Internet access or connection; internet connectivity.
Do you have internet at your place? My internet is down and I want to check my email.
Hello everyone, this is your daily dose of internet.




Any set of computer networks that communicate using the Internet Protocol; an intranet.


A fictitious unit of scoring awarded for making outstanding posts on the internet.


To use the Internet; specifically, to search for information using the Internet.
Having no idea what that means, I am internetting like mad.


To entwine or link (several things) together, so as to form a network; to interconnect, to network.


To connect (a computer, an electronic device, etc.) into a computer network (in particular, the Internet).


A large network{3} of numerous computers connected through a number of major nodes of high-speed computers having high-speed communications channels between the major nodes, and numerous minor nodes allowing electronic communication among millions of computers around the world; - usually referred to as the internet. It is the basis for the World-Wide Web.


A computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks that use the TCP/IP network protocols to facilitate data transmission and exchange

Common Curiosities

What is a LAN?

A LAN is a private network confined to a small geographic area, enabling device interconnectivity for resource sharing.

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a vast, global network that connects computers worldwide to facilitate data exchange and access to online resources.

How do LAN and the Internet differ in scope?

LAN is restricted to a specific location like a building, while the Internet spans globally.

What are common uses for a LAN?

Common uses include file sharing, printer sharing, and intra-office communication within a localized area.

Can the Internet be considered a type of WAN?

Yes, the Internet can be considered the largest example of a WAN (Wide Area Network), connecting multiple LANs and other networks globally.

Can LANs connect to the Internet?

Yes, devices on a LAN can connect to the Internet through a network gateway or router.

Who manages LAN and Internet networks?

LANs are typically managed by individuals or organizations, whereas the Internet is managed by various stakeholders, including ISPs and government bodies.

What infrastructure supports the Internet?

The Internet is supported by a complex infrastructure that includes routers, servers, and data lines globally.

How do LANs and the Internet facilitate communication?

LANs facilitate local communication and resource sharing, while the Internet enables global communication and access to a wide array of online services.

What role do ISPs play in Internet connectivity?

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) play a crucial role in providing access to the Internet, managing data transmission, and ensuring connectivity.

Why is the Internet considered a public network?

The Internet is considered public because it is accessible to anyone around the world with the necessary technological means and connectivity.

How does security differ between LAN and the Internet?

Security on a LAN is easier to manage due to its private nature, while the Internet requires more comprehensive security measures.

Do LANs require an Internet connection to function?

No, LANs can operate independently for local resource sharing and communication without Internet access.

Is accessing the Internet free?

Accessing the Internet usually incurs costs, which vary depending on the service provider and data usage plan.

How does data transfer speed compare between LAN and the Internet?

Data transfer speeds are typically faster within a LAN due to the proximity of devices and less complex infrastructure.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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