VAN is also an acronym for value-added network. Also see virtual private network (virtual private network).
A virtual area network (VAN) is a network on which users are enabled to share a more visual sense of community through high band-width connections. As conceived by PennWell Media Online, an online directory for specialized networking products, a virtual area network is something like a metropolitan area network (MAN) or extended local areanetwork (LAN) in which all users can meet over high-bandwidth connections, enabling "face-to-face" online "coffeehouses," remote medical diagnosis and legal consultation, and online corporate or extracorporate workgroups, focus groups, and conferences. A VAN requires multi-megabyte data flow and can be implemented through the use of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line but more likely through the installation of cable modem. Since the high-bandwidth connections imply a common infrastructure, the first VANs are likely to be local or regional. However, a VAN can also be national or international in geographic scope, assuming all users share similar capabilities.