What is Wide area network (WAN)?
What is Wide area network (WAN)? A WAN (wide area network) is a communications network that spans a large geographic area such as across cities, states, or countries. WAN connects different smaller networks, including local area networks (LANs) and metro area networks (MANs).
Many WANs are built for one particular organization and are private. Others, built by Internet service providers (ISPs), provide connections from an organization’s LAN to the Internet.
WANs use numerous types of devices that are specific to WAN environments. WAN switches, access servers, modems, CSU/DSUs, and ISDN terminal adapters are discussed in the following sections.
What is a switched WAN?
A WAN switch is a multiport internet working device used in carrier networks.
Types of WAN connections
WAN connections can include wired and wireless technologies. Wired WAN services can include multiprotocol label switching, T1s, Carrier Ethernet and commercial broadband internet links. Wireless WAN technologies can include cellular data networks like 4GLTE, as well as public Wi-Fi or satellite networks.
WANs over wired network connections remain the preferred medium for most enterprises, but wireless WAN technologies, based on the 4G LTE standard, are gaining traction.
What is the purpose of a wide area network? WANs can be used to connect cities, states, or even countries. WANs are often used by larger corporations or organizations to facilitate the exchange of data, and in a wide variety of industries corporations with facilities at multiple locations have embraced WANs. Increasingly, however, even small businesses are utilizing WANs as a way of increasing their communications capabilities.
Although WANs serve a purpose similar to that of local area networks (LANs), WANs are structured and operated quite differently. The user of a WAN usually does not own the communications lines that connect the remote computer systems; instead, the user subscribes to a service through a telecommunications provider.