What is a campus network?
A campus network is a proprietary local area network (LAN) or set of interconnected LANs serving a corporation, government agency, university or similar organization. In this context, a typical campus includes a set of buildings in close proximity. End users in a campus network may be more widely dispersed geographically than in a single LAN, but they are usually not as scattered as they would be in a wide area network (WAN).
College and university campus networks interconnect administrative buildings, residence halls, academic halls, libraries, student centers, athletic facilities and other buildings associated with the institution in a specific town or neighborhood. Corporate campus networks interconnect buildings that house key departments and staff members. The corporate campus network forms the user-facing aspect of the larger corporate network within a limited geographic area.
Ideally, all of the nodes in a campus network are interconnected by means of optical fiber media, taking advantage of gigabit Ethernet or 10-Gigabit Ethernet technology. In some cases, Wi-Fi hot spots or even a hot zone make up the user end of the network -- in university student centers or libraries, for example -- where numerous people simultaneously use portable and mobile devices to conduct research and communicate.
Occasionally the term "campus network" is used in reference to geographically-diverse internet users with a common interest, such as the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a national student initiative, or the International Sustainable Campus Network, a forum that supports colleges, universities and corporations in their quest for sustainability in research and teaching.