local area network


(LAN) A data communications network which is geographically limited (typically to a 1 km radius) allowing easy interconnection of terminals, microprocessors and computers within adjacent buildings. Ethernet and FDDI are examples of standard LANs.

Because the network is known to cover only a small area, optimisations can be made in the network signal protocols that permit data rates up to 100Mb/s.

See also token ring, wide area network, metropolitan area network..

Usenet newsgroup: comp.dcom.lans.misc.

Last updated: 1995-03-13

Local Area Terminal


(LAT) A DECnet-related, non-routable network protocol.


Last updated: 1999-01-14

local bus


A bus connecting a processor to memory, usually on the same circuit board as opposed to a backplane and therefore faster.

Various proprietary local busses for personal computers are still in use. The most common are Vesa local bus (VLB or VL), and Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). Some computers, e.g. notebook computers, use a local bus with no expansion slots. Previous non-local bus standards include ISA, EISA and MCA.

Last updated: 1997-08-25



A geopolitical place or area, especially in the context of configuring an operating system or application program with its character sets, date and time formats, currency formats etc.

Locales are significant for internationalisation and localisation.

Last updated: 1999-06-09

local echo


(Obsolete: "half-duplex") A mode of operation of a communications program or device in which it displays the characters the user enters at the same time as it sends them to the remote system.

In communications between computers or computing processes, particularly those involving human keyboarding and/or reading, duplex came to mean the re-transmission of a keyboard character to the output display.

Early input device such as the Teletype ASR-33 teleprinter, being descended from the electric typewriter, printed all input characters as they were typed (i.e. they did local echo). Local echo was typically optional on the video terminals that replaced them, and usually disabled in favour of remote echo. A disadvantage of local echo is that it will continue, even when the communication circuit has failed, which can be misleading.

Last updated: 2000-03-30

local exchange carrier


(LEC) A company allowed to handle local calls following the break-up of the Bell system in the US by anti-trust regulators. These vary from Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC) through to small independents such as Farmers Cooperative.

Local exchange carriers are not allowed to handle long-distance traffic. This is handled by inter-exchange carriers (IXC) who are not allowed to handle local calls.

Last updated: 2002-08-28



(l10n) Adapting a product to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market "locale".

Localisation includes the translation of the user interface, on-line help and documentation, and ensuring the images and concepts are culturally appropriate and sensitive. There may be subtle cross-cultural considerations, e.g. do the icons make sense in other parts of the world?

Internationalisation is the process that occurs during application development that makes localisation easier by separating the details that differ between locales from the rest of the program that stays the same. If internationalisation is thorough, localisation will require no programming.

The abbreviation l10n means "L - 10 letters - N".

Last updated: 1999-06-09




1. In sequential architectures programs tend to access data that has been accessed recently (temporal locality) or that is at an address near recently referenced data (spatial locality). This is the basis for the speed-up obtained with a cache memory.

2. In a multi-processor architecture with distributed memory it takes longer to access the memory attached to a different processor. This overhead increases with the number of communicating processors. Thus to efficiently employ many processors on a problem we must increase the proportion of references which are to local memory.

Last updated: 1995-02-28

local loop


The circuits between a telephone subscriber's residence or business and the switching equipment at the local central office.

Last updated: 1995-03-17

local loopback addresses

The special Internet address,, defined by the Internet Protocol. A host can use local the loopback address to send messages to itself.

Last updated: 1995-03-21

Local Mail Transfer Protocol

<messaging, protocol>

(LMTP) A protocol designed as an alternative to ESMTP for cases where the mail receiver does not manage a queue. LMTP is an application level protocol that runs on top of TCP/IP. It was initially defined in RFC 2033, and uses (with a few changes) the syntax and semantics of ESMTP. It should be used only by specific prior arrangement and configuration, and it must not be used on TCP port 25 (the SMTP port).

Last updated: 2002-03-09

Local Multipoint Distribution System


(LMDS) A broadband wireless technology.



The users on one's local network (as opposed, say, to people one reaches via public Internet or UUCP connections). The marked thing about this usage is how little it has to do with real-space distance. "I have to do some tweaking on this mail utility before releasing it to the locals."

Last updated: 1994-11-29

Local Shared Resources

<operating system>

(LSR) A way of controlling VSAM buffers in OS/390.

Last updated: 2002-02-17



An Apple Computer network standard using Apple Computer's own networking hardware.

Compare EtherTalk.

Last updated: 1994-11-29

local variable


A variable with lexical scope, i.e. one which only exists in some particular part of the source code, typically within a block or a function or procedure body. This contrasts with a global variable, which is defined throughout the whole program.

Code is easier to understand and modify when the scope of variables is as small as possible because it is easier to see how the variable is set and used. Code containing global variables is harder to modify because its behaviour may depend on and affect other sections of code that refer to that variable.

Last updated: 2009-12-14

Nearby terms:

lobotomyLOClocal area networkLocal Area Terminallocal bus

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