The ABCs of xANs

Recently I’ve had some discussions with industry analysts, friends in startups and even large companies regarding the alphabet soup of xAN (example: LAN for Local Area Network). The discussions primarily centered around how fragmented the technical abbreviations are getting across a multitude of industries. An example is LAN is associated to the IT industry (not others) and IAN (Incident Area Network) is associated with public safety, but again not others. I figured it would be a useful exercise to catalog the xANs and the industry(s) that they generally apply to.

Maybe a frivolous intellectual exercise, maybe a candidate for Wikipedia, maybe nothing at all. Here goes. (Ed. note: I don’t have all the answers but some and several guesses). And thank you, Wikipedia for many of the definitions!

  1. AAN: n/a
  2. BAN: Body Area Network, relatively new term that is self explanatory to the network of devices within an individual person (example, a soldier or firefighter); applies to IT, Public Safety, Military/Defense
  3. CAN:
    1. Controller Area Network, a vehicle bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other within a vehicle without a host computer; applies to IT and Computer Engineering
    2. Campus Area Network, a computer network made up of an interconnection of local area networks (LANs) within a limited geographical area; applies to IT and Telecom
  4. DAN: n/a (though it Divers Alert Network is near and dear to me as a scuba diver đŸ˜‰
  5. EAN: Enternet Aggregation Network but there is an Enterprise Private Network which could apply, network build by an enterprise to interconnect the various company sites (production sites, head offices, remote offices, shops etc.) in order to share computer resources over the network; applies to IT.
  6. FAN: Facility Area Network(?); applies to Smart Grid and Energy Utilities, based on recent discussions.
  7. GAN: Global Area Network, a network used for supporting mobile communications across an arbitrary number of wireless LANs, satellite coverage areas, etc.; applies to IT.
  8. HAN: Home Area Network, a residential LAN which is used for communication between digital devices typically deployed in the home, usually a small number of personal computers and accessories, such as printers and mobile computing devices; applies to IT+Smart Grid
  9. IAN: Incident Area Network, an emergency responder network focused on the immediate geography of an emergency incident occurrence; applies to Public Safety.
  10. JAN: Jurisdictional Area Network, an emergency responder network possibly containing multiple IANs and with a higher level onsite command structure than the IANs; applies to Public Safety.
  11. KAN: n/a
  12. LAN: Local Area Network; applies to IT
  13. MAN: Metropolitan Area Network, common network and administrative domains within a city or municipality; applies to IT and Telecom
  14. NAN: Neighborhood Area Network, analogous to MAN although a more constrained geography localized to a neighborhood; applies to IT and Telecom
  15. OAN: n/a
  16. PAN: Personal Area Network, a network of devices constrained within a room or individual office, sometimes proximity based in the case of wireless; applies to IT
  17. QAN: n/a
  18. RAN: Radio Access Networkpart of a mobile Telecommunication system. It implements a radio access technology. Conceptually, it sits between the Mobile phone, and the core network (CN); applies to Telecom
  19. SAN: Storage Area Network, an architecture to attach remote computer storage devices to servers in such a way that the devices appear as locally attached to the operating system; applies to IT
  20. TAN: Tiny Area Network, a local area network with 2–3 nodes connection. Usually implemented for shared files, folders and printers in a home or small office environment; applies to IT…also defines what you get on Miami Beach (time unbounded TAN evolves to BURN)
  21. UAN: n/a
  22. VAN: Vehicle Area Network, an electronic communications network that interconnects components inside vehicles; applies to Automotive and IT…is also bigger than a car
  23. WAN: Wide Area Network, a computer network that covers a broad area (i.e., any network whose communications links cross metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries; applies to IT and Telecom
  24. XAN: n/a
  25. YAN: n/a
  26. ZAN: n/a

Comments, corrections, flames? BTW, I wrote this on Virgin America flight between San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale connected to Gogo Wireless (combination of a LAN and GAN…WiFi + Satellite). I already paid the $12.95 so may as well consume some bandwidth. Now time to consume the “May-I-Have-Another-Cocktail Area Network”!

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