The Definition of FAST
What exactly is a LAN, you ask? In simple terms, a LAN is basically a bunch of computers networked together in close proximity to each other. A LAN has many uses, only some of which are gaming related. As we detailed above, playing games over a LAN has some great benefits, most prominently the lack of latency, or ping. Playing games over a LAN eliminates the uneven playing field that plagues online gaming today. (i.e. A player on an ISDN has an advantage over a player on a modem.) But wait, there's more. Over a LAN, you can also share files and printer access, which comes in handy if you have multiple computers at home or want to snag something from a friend's computer. By now, you're probably saying, "Hey, I want a LAN! Where do I get one?" The bad news is, you're going to have to grease up those elbows and open the computer case to do it, but the good news is, we're here to walk and guide you through how to do it.
Let's start with the easy stuff and go over the different types of networks out there. To eliminate any chances of confusion, we're only going to cover Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. There are far more complicated networks out there, such as Gigabit Ethernet, token ring, FDDI, and ATM, but the chances are, you'll never come across a need for them.
Ethernet is easily the simplest and cheapest option. It runs at 10 Megabits per second (Mbps), or roughly 1.2 Megabytes per second, which is more than sufficient for a small LAN. In this next section, you may come across some strange technical words - don't worry, all you need to learn from it is that there are two ways to implement an Ethernet Network.