Wide area network

Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a broad area (i.e., any network whose communications links cross metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries cite book
last =Groth
first = David
authorlink =
coauthors = Toby Skandier
title = 'Network+ Study Guide, Fourth Edition'
publisher = Sybex, Inc.
date = 2005

location =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0-7821-4406-3
] ). Less formally, a WAN is a network that uses routers and public communications links . Contrast with personal area networks (PANs), local area networks (LANs), campus area networks (CANs), or metropolitan area networks (MANs) which are usually limited to a room, building, campus or specific metropolitan area (e.g., a city) respectively. The largest and most well-known example of a WAN is the Internet.

WANs ["a"] are used to connect LANs and other types of networks together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in other locations. Many WANs are built for one particular organization and are private. Others, built by Internet service providers, provide connections from an organization's LAN to the Internet. WANs are often built using leased lines. At each end of the leased line, a router connects to the LAN on one side and a hub within the WAN on the other. Leased lines can be very expensive. Instead of using leased lines, WANs can also be built using less costly circuit switching or packet switching methods. Network protocols including TCP/IP deliver transport and addressing functions. Protocols including Packet over SONET/SDH, MPLS, ATM and Frame relay are often used by service providers to deliver the links that are used in WANs. X.25 was an important early WAN protocol, and is often considered to be the "grandfather" of Frame Relay as many of the underlying protocols and functions of X.25 are still in use today (with upgrades) by Frame Relay.

Academic research into wide area networks can be broken down into three areas: Mathematical models, network emulation and network simulation.

Performance improvements are sometimes delivered via WAFS or WAN optimization.

Several options are available for WAN connectivity: [cite book
last =McQuerry
first = Steve
authorlink =
title = 'CCNA Self-Study: Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND), Second Edition'
publisher = Cisco Press
date = November 19 2003
location =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-58705-142-7

Transmission rate usually range from 1200 bits/s to 6 Mbit/s, although some connections such as ATM and Leased lines can reach speeds greater than 156 Mbit/s. Typical communication links used in WANs are telephone lines, microwave links & satellite channels.

Recently with the proliferation of low cost of Internet connectivity many companies and organizations have turned to VPN to interconnect their networks, creating a WAN in that way. Companies such as Cisco, New Edge Networks and Check Point offer solutions to create VPN networks.


ee also

*Computer network
*Personal area network (PAN)
*Local area network (LAN)
*Storage area network (SAN)
*Campus area network (CAN)
*Metropolitan area network (MAN)
*Leased Line
*Circuit Switching
*Packet Switching
*Cell Switching
*Label Switching
*Frame Relay
*Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN)
*Wide Area File Services (WAFS)
*Wide Area Application Services (WAAS)

External links

* [http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/internetworking/technology/handbook/Intro-to-WAN.html Cisco - Introduction to WAN Technologies]
* [http://www.entryboot.com/wireless-wide-area-network.php Wireless Wire Area Network]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • wide area network — noun a computer network which connects computers over a wide area. Abbrev.: WAN Compare local area network …   Australian English dictionary

  • wide-area network —    Abbreviated WAN. A network that connects users across large distances, often crossing the geographical boundaries of cities or states.    See also local area network; metropolitan area network …   Dictionary of networking

  • wide area network — noun a computer network that spans a wider area than does a local area network • Syn: ↑WAN • Hypernyms: ↑computer network …   Useful english dictionary

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