Metropolitan Area Networks or MANs utilize high data rates, are highly reliable, and have low data loss. Summarize the two types of communication backbones that are used by MANs. Which of the backbones would you recommend for a small metropolitan area and why?

Communication Backbones used in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs)

The two communication backbones used by MANs are Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network. LAN is smaller than MAN and often serve a small area ranging from a small house to a few buildings. MAN serves an area of approximately 50km2. Typically they interconnect small networks together with fast internet. WAN is the biggest network among LAN and MAN. They can range from networks covering parts of states to those that interconnect states, countries and even the world (Forouzan & Fegan, 2007). Currently, all these topologies are interconnected, making it difficult to differentiate them.

With the advanced technology and need for faster and reliable internet speeds, IT uses either Ethernet or Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) to implement LAN, MAN and WAN. The choice of either option greatly depends on the financial capability of the user and the speed required.

When the Ethernet is implemented as the communication backbone in MAN, it may also be called Metro Ethernet. Metro Ethernet utilizes standard Ethernet connection to interconnect businesses, company branches, schools and other organizations with branches or offices in different locations (White, 2016). SONET allows transmission of different types of data over optic fiber cable (Penttinen, 2015). This mode of transmission is fast and reliable but expensive.

Recommended Backbone for a Small Metropolitan Area

LAN is the recommended backbone for a Small Metropolitan Area. WAN covers a bigger area compared to MAN, since the place to be covered is small, LAN will work efficiently and reliably. Additionally, the cost of setting up LAN in a small area is reliable compared to the cost of setting up WAN. It is recommended to use Metro Ethernet because it can serve the small area well without introducing unnecessary costs.


Forouzan, B. A., & Fegan, S. C. (2007). Data communications and networking. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Penttinen, J. T. (2015). The telecommunications handbook: engineering guidelines for fixed, mobile and satellite systems. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

White, C. M. (2016). Data communications & computer networks: a business users approach. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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