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What is a wide area network (WAN)?
What is a wide area network (WAN)?
lan vs wan
11/6/20 10:41 AM
What is a wide area network (WAN)?
A wide area network (WAN) is a large computer network that connects groups of computers over long distances. WANs are often used by large companies to connect their office networks. Each office usually has its own local network or LAN and these LANs are connected to one another via a WAN. These long connections can be made in a number of ways, e.g. B. via leased lines, VPNs or IP tunnels (see below).

The definition of WAN is pretty broad. Technically, any large network that spans a large geographic area is a WAN. The Internet itself is considered a WAN.

What is a LAN?
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network that is limited to a small, localized area. Common examples of LANs are home Wi-Fi networks and small business networks. Usually, whoever manages the LAN also manages the network devices used by the LAN. For example, a small business manages the routers and switches that are involved in setting up the LAN.

Difference between WAN and LAN
LANs typically exist in a closed area and usually share a single central point of Internet connection. WANs are designed to provide network connections over long distances. They usually consist of several interconnected LANs. A company that sets up its own WAN is almost always dependent on a network infrastructure that is beyond their control: For example, data must be transmitted between an office in Paris and an office in New York via a transatlantic submarine cable.

A WAN usually includes several routers and switches. A LAN only needs a router to connect to the Internet or other LANs, although it can use switches.

What is a leased line?
One of the methods companies use to connect their LANs to form a WAN is so-called leased lines. A leased line is a direct network connection that is rented from a large network provider such as an ISP. Building your own physical network infrastructure - including cables, routers, and Internet nodes spanning hundreds or thousands of kilometers - would be a virtually impossible endeavor for most organizations. Instead, companies rent a direct, dedicated connection from another company that already has this infrastructure.

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