What is local versus remote?

The normal meaning of “local” and “remote” are applied to computers but the exact meaning can change based on the context.

  • Local means related to or restricted to this place here.
  • Remote means in some other place or distant.

Computing contexts

A. As applied to computers:

  • A local computer is here which normally means this computer can be accessed without a network.
  • A remote computer normally means any another computer is not here and would normally be accessed through a network.

B. As applied to networks:

  • Local means on this network hence the term Local Area Network (LAN).
  • Remote means on another computer.

C. As applied to network addresses which identify a computer such as IP addresses and MAC addresses.

  • A local address on this computer as the address of the network adapter. If you have two network adapters then you can have two local addresses.
  • A local address on this network. An address that is recognised as local. This typically applies to IP addresses where specific ranges of addresses are reserved for local private use.
  • A remote address which is on another network.

As you can see, the exact meaning of each term depends upon the context. See how remote computers can be on the local network and a remote network as in the following diagram.

|- - - - - Local LAN - - - - - - - -| |- - - - - - Remote LAN - - - -|
Local Computer + Gateway - Internet - Gateway + Remote computer
Remote Computer + + Remote computer

GlassWire usage

Here are two different ways that GlassWire uses local and remote:

  • When GlassWire monitors a remote computer, it means to monitor any computer which is not this (local) computer.
    See How to create a remote connection for monitoring
  • When GlassWire monitors network activity, local activity/traffic is on this network, external (remote) activity/traffic is outside this network.

Local and remote are often interchangeable with internal and external or private and public. Here’s two examples which also relate to GlassWire:

  • Local traffic on your LAN can also be internal traffic because it is internal to your network.
  • Local IP addresses can also be private IP addesses because they are not published on a public network like the Internet.

:pencil2: How to improve this topic

This is a wiki post, like all the other #how-to:glossary topics, so feel free to improve the content. Just leave a reply explaining what you’ve done and why it makes sense to do it that way.

If this topic helped you then please :heart: it so we can see what is most helpful to people.

1 Like