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What is WAN Network? - Wide-Area Network 101 Guide

August 30, 2022 | 3 Minutes Reading

A wide area network (often known as WAN) is an extensive information network that is not restricted to a single place. Through a WAN provider, WANs may permit communication, information exchange, and much more between devices worldwide. They are critical for international commerce, but they are also necessary for everyday usage, as the internet is the world's largest WAN.


Wide area networks telecommunication networks connect devices from all over the world. WANs are the most extensive kind of computer network currently accessible. Service providers frequently construct these networks and lease their WAN to corporations, schools, governments, and the general population. Certified network specialists assist businesses in maintaining their internal wide area network and other critical IT infrastructure.

Due to their similarities, WAN and LAN are frequently confused. However, each is distinct in its own way.

Difference between WAN and LAN

Customer or Corporate own networks are referred to as LANs (Local Area networks). These networks are owned and operated by customers or corporates themselves.

Since all the LAN devices are close to one another, it is referred to as a "local" area network. Perhaps in a single structure or a few buildings close together (called a campus). 

A WAN is required when we need to connect to other remote networks, connect two LANs, or provide others access to our LAN (Wide Area Network). WANs, as the name suggests, cover broad geographical regions. This might be as little as a network connecting two cities or as vast as the Internet.

Companies that run WANs include phone/cable businesses, service providers, and satellite companies. They construct enormous networks that cover whole cities or regions and lease the usage of these networks to their clients.

Other types of telecommunication networks include as follows: 

  • Personal Area Networks (PAN) 

  • Cloud or internet area networks (IAN)

  • Metropolitan area networks (MAN)


What Is the Role of a Wide Area Network Connection?

Without WAN connectivity, enterprises would be confined to specific geographic regions or restricted locations.

LANs would allow firms to function within their building, but expansion to other regions — whether other cities or nations — would be impossible since the necessary infrastructure would be too expensive for most organizations. 

As businesses expand and go global, WANs enables them to communicate across branches, share information, and stay connected. When employees travel for business, WANs enable them to remotely obtain the information they require.

WANs enables enterprises to communicate information with customers and partners, such as B2B clients. However, WANs also provide essential services to the general population. Academic students may use WANs to access library databases or conduct university research. Individuals rely on WANs daily to communicate, bank, shop, and do other things. 

How are WANs Connected? 

Dial-up internet, fiber-optic communication, ISDN, leased line, SD-WAN, frame relay, and synchronous optical networking may all be used to build these networks. 

 In addition, circuit switching or packet switching mechanisms are used, and protocols like TCP/IP communicate transport and addressing services. 

 As WANs span vast distances, and sometimes over the public internet,  it is better to link them using a virtual private network solution like SD-WAN, enabling a safe communication flow between locations.

Future of WANs

As data needs continue to rise dramatically in the following decades, more complex kinds of WAN connections will be created.

Even now, NASA is working on developing an interplanetary internet for future exploration, and the International Space Station is presently deploying a disruptive tolerance network (DTN).

The key concern will be data transmission speed because the longer it takes for data to move from point A to point B, the greater the distance between two servers. Regardless, WAN service providers are innovating in response to varied international compliance standards and increased awareness about data protection.

Technological developments in this sector are projected to reduce the pressure on conventional WAN networks, which are currently overworked. It will also improve connection and security, among other benefits. One example in this section is an SD-WAN.


A software-defined WAN, or SD-WAN, is a more adaptable WAN design that can use various hardware platforms and connection choices. The controlling software is compatible with all networking gear. 

SD-WANs are a kind of software-defined networking (SDN), which is a group of technologies that allow the software to manage networks.

They also play an essential role in secure access service edge (SASE) systems, which integrate networking and network security tasks into a single, cloud-based service. Another innovative approach to WAN is a cloud-based networking solution. 


A cloud-based WAN model is WAN-as-a-service. WAN-as-a-service solutions are intended to replace older WAN setups that rely on hardware or employ communication protocols such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and are challenging to scale up.

Since WAN-as-a-service is delivered via the cloud, users simply require Internet access and may design their WAN using software rather than physical appliances.

To conclude, WANs have become crucial to human communication and corporate relationships. As the world evolves, WANs may alter and generate new kinds of technology in the future.


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