What is Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a network of computers that help to interconnect users in a geographic area with computer resources. It can cover an area that is smaller than that covered by wide area Network (WAN) but is larger than that covered by the Local area network (LAN). Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) refers to an interconnection of networks in a city which is connected to a larger network which in turn can be connected to a WAN. It can also be used to describe interconnection in a metropolitan area of several local area networks through point to point connection between them.

Related: Data processing, Data Processing Cycle

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) has three main features which distinguish it from other networks like Local Area network (LAN) and Wide area network (WAN);

  • A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)size is in between that of a LAN or a WAN.
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is not owned by a single organization.
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) often works as a high-speed network that allows sharing of regional networks.

What are the different types of Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) technologies?

There are mainly three different types of Metropolitan area network with are mostly used. They are discussed as below:

1. Fiber distribution data interface: It is the most widely used technology which is used to develop a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). It uses optical fiber for its infrastructure which is why thereby it gets its name. It is referred to as the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) technology as it can help support the data transmission of thousands of users at a time. FDDI is used as a standard for data transfer and it can be extended to a range of about 200kms.

Metropolitan Area Network


2. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM): This is a digital transfer technology that was developed in 1980 to enhance the transfer of real-time data. In ATM data is separated in the form of identical packets which is transferred over time. It was developed to access high-quality audio and video during video conferencing. The features of ATM make it suitable for use as a base in the wide area data networking. Asynchronous Transfer mode combines the properties of circuit switching and packet switching which enables it to transfer data real time.

3. Switch Multi-Megabit Data Service (SMDS): It is referred to data transfer technology that transfers through a connectionless service. In a connectionless service, the data is transferred by storing the information in the header which then can be sent to its destination independently via any network. Like in the Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), small packets of data are formed in SMDS as well. However, SMDS allows the transmission of datagrams over a large geographical area.

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How does MAN work?

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is generally used to connect geographically dispersed Local area Networks to develop a communication link between independent LAN nodes by bridging them with backbone lines. It can be operated over an area of up to 50kms in diameter. A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) falls between LAN and WAN and is usually established using optical fibers, switches and routers. A switch is a dual port which on one end is active in handling the filtration of data coming in the form of frames, on the other end the switch manages the connections. Routers are the other devices in a MAN that helps in establishing a network connection. It helps in the data transfer by identifying the route that the data packets need to take to reach their destination.

Advantages of a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Considering the fact that a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) falls in between the Local area network and a wide area network the efficiency of handling data is much higher. This helps to save the cost involved in establishing a Wide Area Network. A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) offers centralized data management reducing the effort that is required. MAN offers an easy connection of many fast LANs together.

Telecommunication companies have now facilitated the easy transfer of data with the use of underground optical fiber network offering a heightened efficiency and speed. While WAN can give a speed of about 1.45 Mbps, the cost involved very high which does not make it the right choice of network. When a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is established it offers a speed of up to 1000mbps which is highly cost effective.

Disadvantages of a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) cannot work on traditional phone copper wires; it works with optical fibers which are a little costlier to set up. In case it is installed with copper wires then the speed will be very slow. Apart from these additional cables are required to connect the MAN to two LANs.

Advantages of MAN

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a little complex to set up and requires network administrators and troubleshooters. When the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) becomes bigger it becomes difficult to manage not only due to the additional configuration it requires but also due to the security problem which makes it very easy for hackers to attack the network. Hence it requires highly trained and skilled professionals to keep a constant check on the security measures.

Applications of Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Some of the examples where the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is applied with the help of remote sensing and GIS are:

  • Groundwater mapping
  • Urban analysis
  • Land use land cover
  • University campus networks
  • Government agencies
  • In public establishments like libraries, hospitals, and airports
  • Connecting branches of private establishments like schools, shopping complexes, and others

As MAN is used to connect geographically dispersed Local Area Networks, it helps to develop the different models and assessment with the remote sensing satellite data along with the ground information through MAN. As Metropolitan Area Network covers an area of 50 kms in diameter, it can, therefore, help in the betterment of the people in the positive analysis.