Using a computer with internet access allows you to get in touch with friends, family and business associates from all over the world. However, in private environments where only a LAN connection is available, tools such as LAN Chat serve as a means for safely chatting across a local network in order to prevent data leaks or experience slow connections because of Internet traffic.
Equipped with two components
One of the application's main advantages is that it does not require an active Internet connection whatsoever, so you can rest assured that no one other than the server administrator knows what's going on. It's made out of two components, one to be deployed on the server and the other on every other machine that attends the chat session.
Quick setup of the server and clients
The server component only takes several seconds to configure, the only requirement being to provide the host IP address and hitting the “Start” button. As soon as this is done, the main window serves as an events log, displaying every established connection and message.
Getting in touch with LAN buddies is no rocket science either. The client component can also be launched on the server machine, the overall experience not being affected in any way. Similarly to the server setup, you need to provide a valid IP to connect to, with an additional field for the user name.
Good but far from being a pro
However, this mostly sums up what the application puts at your disposal. The overall design is a little rough around the edges, with the administrator being unable to chat unless deploying the client. Connected users are not displayed in any type of list, the chat being a room where everyone has a saying.
As such, you cannot initiate private conversation unless used on just two machines, and most importantly, if a lot of chatting is done, you constantly need to scroll down to view latest entries because the application does not do so for you.
Taking everything into consideration, we can say that LAN Chat is a simple, straightforward application that mostly serves its purpose in a small environment. Connection and response time are flawless, but every other aspect leaves a lot more to be desired. What's more, file sharing is not possible, and the lack of an auto-scroll feature most likely makes you look away.