Neighborhood Area Network

What Does Neighborhood Area Network Mean?

A neighborhood area network (NAN) is an offshoot of Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless local area networks (WLAN), which enable users to connect to the Internet quickly and at very little expense. A NAN is generally installed by an individual to serve a family or a number of neighbors.


NANs cover only a small number of blocks close to an 802.11 access point. With the help of an omnidirectional antenna, a single access point could cover a radius of more than half a mile. Users who wish to connect to an NAN can then make use of a directional antenna to get an improved signal from the access point.

Techopedia Explains Neighborhood Area Network

NAN providers are usually individuals or a group that join to share an Internet broadband connection rather than use a home router. If a user with a broadband connection, either DSL or cable modem, plans to share it, an NAN makes it possible to share this with anyone within range. In order for the receiver (usually neighbors within reach) to connect wirelessly to the shared Internet, they need to have a PDA or Wi-Fi enabled laptop.

This concept differs from the wireless deployment for hotspots. Hotspots are usually commercial Internet access points with a reach of only 300 feet. They are used to attract tech-savvy customers to a coffee shop, airport or restaurant. NANs, on the other hand, offer a much wider radius of Internet connection. Therefore, commercialization of NANs is an effective way to speed up the extension of neighborhood Wi-Fi networks.

NANs allow users reduce their Internet expenditure by sharing a connection with neighbors. The downside is that this strategy reduces the bandwidth speed and sometimes leads to the violation of the Internet service provider’s agreement. Some service providers do not allow individual broadband users to share their connection, making NANs a violation of that agreement.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…