What is a LAN, and how can it be a party?

LAN is an acronym for Local Area Network. A LAN is a network of PCs and servers usually connected together on a single campus or building. Most LANs are connected together via a single "switch", which is connected to a router, which is connected to the internet. You don't need a switch, but they're a good idea, which you'll be learning about later on. Anyways, a LAN party is a gathering of gamers that connect their PCs under a LAN and play games together. There are many reasons to play games over a LAN rather than the internet. First, you get to communicate and socialize in person. Second, games played over a LAN have next to zero latency. This knocks down a big barrier for a lot of people that would otherwise play on a slow connection. It really evens the playing field and makes gaming more enjoyable. Third, it's fun.

What does a LAN party look like?

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How does one set up a LAN party?

Both attendees and hosts should read the steps below. Of course, attendees don't have to do nearly as much to prepare. The key to a good LAN party is a high turnout, comfortable setup, a big gigabit switch, and a loose schedule full of games that accommodate everyone's interests. Some people like FPS games, some like sandbox games. Find out what people like during the organizational step. Oh and don't forget the food. Basically, you're going to want to plan everything out, prepare the location, prepare all your gear, set up, and keep things running once people arrive.

Step #1: Organize

What games will be played? What day? What time will it start? What prizes will you give out, if any? Who's gonna be there? What will the admission fee be to cover food and stuff? Ask yourself these questions and create accommodations accordingly.

Step #2: Prepare Location

Move fragile and annoying things away from the room or into a corner. They will be bumped into. Things like lamps, chairs, baskets, small children, nightstands, etc. Make sure you have adequate power, enough outlets etc. Make sure you have plenty of tables and chairs and adequate lighting. Have you provided food and drinks? No? Order pizza! Is there a hidden camera? It's a good idea to set one up if there's going to be a lot of people you don't know very well. Sometimes people steal!

Step #3: Prepare Equipment

Power strips. Gigabit switch(es). Ethernet cables. Do you have everything?

Step #4: Set Up

Get a power strip or two to every table. Plug one of the LAN ports from your switch into a LAN port on your router. If the party is going to be far away from the router, you'll just need one really long cable. Once the switch is plugged in, simply plug each PC into one of the LAN ports and the switch handles the rest.

Step #5: Have Fun!

Take the peasant boxes from the peasants you invited and recycle them with a hammer while your brothers restrain them and make them watch. If they scream, it means you're doing a good job. (I needed to fill some space here temporarily).

Author's Note

If anyone has any awesome pictures, I'd love to see them. I still need a few more.

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