Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Definition of Metropolitan Area Network in the Network Encyclopedia.

What is Metropolitan Area Network?

Metropolitan Area Network, also known as MAN, is a term that can mean several things in different contexts:

  • Multiple local area networks (LANs) that are connected on a campus or industrial complex using a high-speed backbone.
  • Multiple networks that are connected within the same city to form a citywide network for a specific government or industry.
  • Any network bigger than a LAN but smaller than a wide area network (WAN).
  • A Distributed Queue Dual Bus architecture network based on the IEEE 802.6 standard of Project 802. This is the formal definition of a metropolitan area network (MAN), but it is essentially obsolete.
Metropolitan Area Network
Metropolitan Area Network

FDDI and Metropolitan Area Network

Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) is a good network technology for building a metropolitan area network (MAN).

Metropolitan Internet Exchanges

Internet Exchanges (IXs), also known as Exchange Points (XPs), have historically been important for the connection of metropolitan area networks (MANs) to the national or global Internet. The Boston Metropolitan Exchange Point (Boston MXP) enabled metro Ethernet providers, such as the HarvardNet to exchange data with national carriers, such as the Sprint Corporation and AT&T. Exchange points also serve as low-latency link between campus area networks, thus the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston University could exchange data, voice and video using the Boston MXP.

Cities that host one of the international Internet Exchanges have become a preferred location for companies and data centers. The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is the world’s second-largest Internet Exchange and has attracted companies to Amsterdam that are dependent on high-speed internet access. The Amsterdam metropolitan area network has benefited too from high-speed Internet access. Similarly, Frankfurt has become a magnet for data centers of international companies because it hosts the non-profit DE-CIX, the largest Internet Exchange in the world.