Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) (not to be confused with “manpages” in the Unix and Linux world) connects nodes located in the same metro area. For example, a company located in the San Francisco Bay Area might have its buildings in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose linked together via a network.

One of the most common ways for organizations to build this kind of network is to use microwave transmission technology. You might have seen a microwave antenna on a TV news van, extended high in the air, beaming video and sound back to the main TV studio. It’s also possible to wire buildings together using fiber-optic cable, but as with WANs, most organizations that use wires will lease them from another carrier. Laying cable themselves is quite expensive.

In the past, organizations that had a MAN used asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), FDDI or SMDS networks.