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Stands for "Metropolitan Area Network." A MAN is a network that spans a large area, such as a town or city. It is larger than a campus area network (CAN), but smaller than a wide area network (WAN).

An example of a MAN is a series of wireless routers distributed across a city. The routers are almost always linked to an Internet connection, which allows public users to connect to the Internet once they connect to the MAN. They are also bridged together, meaning each access point has the same name and authentication method. Once you connect your device to one of the routers, it should automatically connect to routers in other locations within the MAN.

There is no hard limit to the size range of a MAN, but most are between 3 and 30 miles in diameter. Some campus area networks are larger than 3 miles in diameter, but they are technically not MANs. CANs typically provide more security and faster speeds than a MAN. They are also more likely to limit access to public users.

Metropolitan area networks are sometimes considered wide area networks since they span large areas. However, a MAN is a single network, not several interconnected networks, which is what comprises a WAN.

Updated: December 1, 2018

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