Nice to know: What is LAN?

The abbreviations LAN or WLAN are probably known by anyone – no matter if you have heard it at home or at work. In this article we want to explain you what exactly stands behind LAN and what Ethernet and WOL have to do with it.

Why do I need LAN?

The acronym LAN stands for Local Area Network and describes a computer network within a limited area. If you – for instance – connect one of our Mini-PCs with a network using a LAN cable, the PC can communicate with other devices to get access to the same server, use a printer or even an internet connection. You can also connect multiple Mini-PCs with one and the same router– it just means that they are using the same computer network.

The LAN or Ethernet cable RJ-45

To connect our Mini-PCs with the network, you simply need two things: The first one is the LAN interface on the PC itself and the second is a fitting LAN cable. Good news: All of our spo-comm Mini-PCs are equipped with at least one LAN interface.

The LAN cable, which is also called Ethernet cable, has a RJ plug connection. The RJ in this means Registered Jack and it stands for a standardized telecommunication network interface. This standard describes the construction of the sockets and plugs, as well as their contact assignment. The RJ-45 has an 8P8C assignment: This means that it has eight possible contact positions (P) and eight of them are in fact used (C). For this type there are cable in the categories 5/5e to 6e.

From LAN to Wireless LAN

For some of our spo-comm Mini-PCs you don’t necessarily need a LAN connection to connect it with other devices. A few of our PCs can be connected with devices by using the integrated or optional Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi which actually stands for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is just a connection within a computer network that doesn’t need any cables.

Wake on LAN – WOL

The short-term WOL stands for Wake on LAN and is a standard by AMD that makes it possible to start a switched-off computer with the integrated network card. The requirement the PC has to offer is that the network card is still powered even when the PC is turned off. This requirement, by the way, is fulfilled by every single one of our Mini-PCs.

LAN expansion cards

There are, as well, special LAN extension cards which are not onboard as standard. These cards are needed if you want to increase the amount of the PC’s LAN interfaces. This can be advantageous if one and the same Mini-PC has to access multiple networks or devices, such as IP based surveillance cameras, at once. For our Mini-PCs of the BRICK series and two of the RUGGED-PCs, the RUGGED Q170 and the RUGGED GTX 1050Ti, there is a special adapter plate. For our NOVA CUBE Q87 there is a PCI expansion card.

If you have any questions about LAN, WiFi or Wake on LAN on your spo-comm device, feel free to contact us by mail.

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