A LAN party is a gathering of people with computers or compatible game consoles, between which they establish a local area network (LAN) connection between the devices using a router or switch, primarily for the purpose of playing multiplayer video games together. The size of these networks may vary from small (two people), to very large gatherings of a hundred or more. Small parties can form spontaneously and take advantage of common household networking equipment, but larger ones typically require more planning, equipment, and preparation.
LAN party events differ significantly from LAN gaming centers and Internet cafes in that they generally require participants to bring your own computer (BYOC) and are not permanent installations, often taking place in general meeting places or residences.
LAN parties have their own unique culture. Enthusiasts often show off computers with extravagant aftermarket cooling systems, LED lighting effects, multi-display setups, and custom-built cases, and many other enhancements. Highly caffeinated drinks, termed energy drinks, are very popular in these events to improve concentration and stamina, since LAN parties often run into the early morning hours. Large parties can last for several days with no scheduled breaks. Often sleep is compromised to play throughout the night and into the next day, although there is often a designated room separated from the LAN party to sleep.