LANs (local area networks) are the networks you see in most offices and schools. They usualy need the following hardware in order to opperate.

1. A Network File Server is a dedicated computer that runs the software needed by the network and stores the files that users have created.

2. Terminals are individual workstations that give access to the network. Using a terminal gives access to the network's software and files.

3. If a group of terminals share use of a printer then the system needs a printserver. If two or more documents are sent to the print server at the same time, then the print server will put them into a queue. Users can carry on with other work whilst waiting for the document to be printed.

4. For the network to operate, data needs to be sent to and from all parts of the network. This can be done using wire cables or fibre optic cables, or via radio signals.