Networking Fundamentals: Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)


Networking Fundamentals: Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Computer networks have evolved greatly over the years. In this modern day and age there are multiple types of networks, satisfying specific requirements for millions of various users, and in this blog, we will be looking at one of those network types known as a Metropolitan Area Network. 

What’s a MAN?

A Metropolitan Area Network is a computer network based in a metropolitan or city area, through a connection of multiple LAN accessed by point to point connections. By uniting smaller LAN networks, MANs have the ability to extend to a geographical area of 5 to 50 kms, sufficient for the network requirements of a city. This interconnection of networks across the city may also end up facilitating connections to WAN.

MANs are particularly useful for the purpose of sharing resources specific to regions, assisting in quicker and segmented flow of data and information. Furthermore, MANs can connect multiple computers and networks to serve as an Internet Service Provider, because of which the internet service provided by a telephone company falls under the category of a MAN connection. A Metropolitan Area Network is smaller than the area covered through WANs, but it is much bigger than the connectivity capabilities of a LAN. The wide acceptability and applicability of MAN is apparent from its deployment in areas of Geneva, Switzerland; in London, England and also Lodz, Poland. Recently, MANs have been started to be deployed in wireless medium, further improving its ease of accessibility.

Working Methodology

The working mechanism of a MAN is quite similar to that of an Internet Service Provider, as mentioned before; however, it is not owned by a single organization. Just like a Wide Area Network, a MAN too delivers a joint and shared network connection to all of its users based on a data link layer. This data link layer is classified as a Layer 2 of the OSI model, an abbreviation for Open Systems Interconnection.

Additionally, Distributed Queue Dual Bus (DQDB) is the standard set by the IEEE, an organization responsible for overlooking the activities of electrical and electronic engineers. Using this standard set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a MAN expands over 5km-50km range, which is more than enough to cover a city.

The primary goal of a MAN is to establish a connection between geographically separated LANs, meaning initially a MAN seeks to form a communication link between two independent LAN nodes. Established using optical fibers cables, a MAN utilizes routers and switches along with a modem. Just to refresh the memory, a switch is responsible for filtering data inflowing in the shape of frames. The switch lies as one of the fundamental components as it is actively responsible for dual tasks. At one end, as mentioned before, it filters data and on the other end it manages the connection. The router on the other hand plays a role in facilitating the establishment of a network connection by assisting a data packet through directing it to take the appropriate path, hence keeping a vigilant eye on the entire data transfer process.

Types of MAN technologies


Fiber Distribution data interface is a standard for data transfer in context to a LAN and it can assist in transmitting the data of thousands of users. It uses optical fiber for its primary infrastructure; hence the name fiber distribution data interface.


Switched multi-megabit data service allows the transfer of data through a connectionless service. What does a connectionless service imply? It is the state of data transfer when the information and data is stored in a head and then it reaches its specific destination in an independent manner. Data can be transmitted over huge geographical distances through the usage of datagrams created by SMDS, which are packets of data of an unreliable data service provider.


Asynchronous Transfer Mode is the most frequently used MAN technology. ATM is a digital transfer technology, developed in the 1980s to transfer real time data over an individual network. In ATM, the data is stored in specific fixed sized packets transferring overtime; much similar to how a cell relay system is operated. It consists of circuit switching and packet switching, further facilitating the movement of real time data.

Although these technologies may seem complex at first sight to any network enthusiast or a potential networking professional, with the adequate networking training, all of this turns out to be easily and comprehensively understandable.


  • MAN allows sending and receiving of local emails in a cheaper and more quicker manner.
  • Due to its use of fiber optics, users can transfer databases and files quickly, as the speed of the network has the capacity of reaching 1000Mbps. This is why telephone companies across the world utilize the structure of MAN and use fiber optics to transfer data in an unprecedented speed.
  • WAN allows users to share the network resulting in everyone having access to high-speed internet.
  • The conversion of a Wide Area Network to a Metropolitan Area Network is a relatively simpler and quick procedure and it also improves the efficiency of handling data.
  • MAN has the feature of allowing network administrators to manage the entire network centrally leading to much more effective and efficient network management. Speaking of effective network management, it is always highly recommended to essential network training beforehand.
  • A MAN is also considered a more secure network in comparison to a WAN. 

In this blog, we extensively covered the various aspects and elements of a MAN. Similar to various other networks, all of network training linked with MAN is extensively covered through the courses offered by QuickStart. These courses offer specific training of all network types and one of the benefits of the QuickStart course is that it enables the applicants to easily apply and clear the Cisco Certification Examination which is highly respected throughout the market. So make sure to check out QuickStart for all your network-training needs.

Previous Post Next Post
Hit button to validate captcha