See LAN in Computer
(Local Area Network) A communications network that serves users within a confined geographical area. The "clients" are the user's workstations typically running Windows, although Mac and Linux clients are also used. The "servers" hold programs and data that are shared by the clients. Servers come in a wide range of sizes from Intel-based servers to mainframes. Printers can also be connected to the network and shared (see print server).
Thick and Thin Clients
In a LAN, the client machines are mostly Windows-based PCs that contain their own applications. These "thick" clients are the norm; however, some companies use "thin" clients, which are stripped-down machines. Some are diskless and floppy-only workstations that retrieve all software and data from the server. Windows terminals are also used, which are Windows PCs that act like input/output terminals. They perform no business processing and display only what comes from a central server. See thin client and Windows terminal.
The Network OS
The controlling software in a LAN is the network operating system in the server (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix, NetWare). A component part resides in each client and allows the application to read and write data from the server as if it were on the local machine.
Learn more about LAN