The 6 Components of a LAN That You Never Really Think Of

When we go to work, we go to an office with the standard desk, chair, and computer setup. We print, fax, email, and make calls. It’s second nature, we don’t think about it, we just do it. We don’t really notice how it is that all of this is happening, that we’re on the same local area network, or LAN.

LANs are made up of 6 main components, the network workstations, interface cards and drivers, shared hardware resources, network operating systems, network-aware programs, and a communications medium.

Network workstations can range from anything to cheap low-end laptops and Chromebooks, to high-powered engineering workstations, to cell phones and tablets. As long as it’s able to handle the routine duties of accounting, word processing, point-of-sale, and so on, it can be counted as a workstation.

Network interface cards, or NIC, are what connects workstations into a network and allow them to communicate with each other and everything else on the LAN. Most computers have two built-in, one for Wi-Fi and one for ethernet. Drivers interpret the commands from your operating system into instructions that the NIC can read and understand.

Shared hardware resources are resources that can be shared on the LAN so that not every user on the network has to have their own. The biggest example of a shared network resource is the printer. The hubs, switches, and routers that connect the devices in the network are also included in this category.

Networking operating systems are software that keeps track of devices on the LAN, programs currently running, the information being circulated, and what resources are needed.

Network-aware programs are the working software most visible to users such as Word, Excel, Slack, Evernote, and security software. These can be accessed on the LAN or on the cloud.

Communication mediums are what connects all the devices on a LAN, whether the physical cabling or the virtual Wi-Fi connection. While cables transmit through electrical impulses, wireless LANs transmit through radio waves at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies.

It sounds like a lot sometimes, when we realize how much goes into the little things that we just use and take for granted. Fortunately, there’s Just Connectors, an ASAP Semiconductor proprietary website and the premier supplier of cable connectors and network components. For a quote or for more information, call us at +1-714-705-4780 or email us


February 10, 2022

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