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Local area networks (LANs) have become pervasive in their application to business, government, and academic data communications. In the United States alone, by 1993 there were over three million LANs installed. This paper describes how advances in structured cabling systems and electronics concentrated in the wiring closet have enabled the evolution of LANs toward a dedicated bandwidth model. Due to the growing number of users, LANs are required to provide increased data capacity and improved management capabilities. These user requirements are being met by increased functions in the electronic wiring closet that include fault isolation, remote network management, increased aggregate bandwidth, and virtual LAN capabilities. This paper focuses on present and future user requirements and the influences of emerging LAN switching technologies on already installed LANs.
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