What is a metropolitan area network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network which covers a city or a large university campus. MAN connect users within an area larger than local area network (LAN) but smaller than a wide area network (WAN). MAN is made with a combination of several LAN through point to point connections. MAN usually involves connection of fiber optics wires to boost data transfer speed.

MAN depends upon different technologies to establish a network. Some of these technologies are mentioned below:-

  • FDDI (Fiber distribution data interface)
  • ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode)
  • SMDS (Switched multi-megabit data service)

FDDI is used for transferring data in LAN. Its range is within 200 kms. As FDDI can handle thousands of users so this standard is also included in MAN.

ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) was developed in 1980 to transfer digital data fast. Mostly ATM is a widely used method in MAN. In ATM data is distributed online in the form of small fixed size packets. This method is best for doing audio and video conference online. ATM used packet switching and circuit switching to transfer real-time data.

In SMDS, data is transferred in packets over the large geographical area. SMDS is a connectionless service meaning data info is stored in the header and then it is transferred through any network.

The main purpose of MAN is to interconnect two LAN together. MAN also uses routers and switches to transfer data. MAN has a range of over 50kms. The speed of metropolitan area network is about 1000 Mbps.

characteristies metropolitan area network
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) Diagram

Advantages of a metropolitan area network (MAN)

Below are some of the benefits of MAN:-

Less expensive:

It is less expensive to attach MAN with WAN. MAN gives the good efficiency of data. In MAN data is easily managed in a centralized way.

Sending local emails:

On MAN you can send local emails fast and free.

High speed than WAN:

MAN uses fiber optics so the speed of data can easily reach upon 1000 Mbps. Files and databases can be transferred fast.

Sharing of the internet:

In some installation of MANs, users can share their internet connection. So multiple users can get the same high-speed internet.

Conversion from LAN to MAN is easy:

MAN is a faster way to connect two fast LANs together. This is due to the fast configuration of links.

High Security:

MAN has a high-security level than WAN.

Disadvantages of metropolitan area network (MAN)

Difficult to manage:

If MAN becomes bigger then it becomes difficult to manage it. This is due to a security problem and other extra configuration.

Internet speed difference:

MAN cannot work on traditional phone copper wires. If MAN is installed on copper wires then there will be very low speed. So it required the high cost to set up fiber optics for the first time.

Hackers attack:

In MAN there are high chances of attacking hackers on the network compared to LAN. So data may be leaked. Data can be secured but it needs high trained staff and security tools.

Technical people required to set up:

To setup MAN it requires technical people that can correctly setup MAN. The technical people are network administrators and troubleshooters.

More wires required:

In MAN additional cables are required to connect two LAN which is another problem.

Examples of metropolitan area network (MAN)

Some of the examples of MAN are:-

  • Digital cable television
  • Used in government agencies
  • University campuses
  • Cable broadband
  • Used to connect several branches of the local school
  • In hospital (for communication between doctors, research offices, labs)
  • A network of fire stations
  • In airports
  • Networking between community colleges within the country
  • Used in public libraries

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