A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications or computer network that extends over a large geographical distance.
A Wide Area Network suits an individual, a Company or Organization that operates different location that is separated by large geographical distances, it will be a matter of necessity to connect these individual locations so as to share, exchange and manager data or communication. To achieve this, the organization needs a Telecommunication Service Provider (TSP) to interconnect the LANs at the different locations.
A company that has an office in London and another office in Manchester and need these offices to be connected to each other so as to be on the same network even though they are miles away, The following WAN options or types and the protocols used are available to use.
WAN Types Including:
1. Leased Line
Point-to-point connection between two Local Area Networks LANs
Very if not most secure
Very Expensive to run
2. Circuit Switching
A dedicated circuit path is created between endpoints. Good example is dialup connections (telephone system)
which links together wire segments to create a single unbroken line for each telephone call.
3. Packet Switch
Network devices transport packets via a shared single point-to-point or point-to-multipoint medium across. Variable length packets are transmitted over PVCs or SVCs
Highly efficient use of bandwidth
Shared media across link
X.25, Frame Relay
4. Cell Relay
Same as packet switching, but uses fixed-length packets. Data is divided into fixed length cells and then transported across virtual circuits
Best for simultaneous use of voice and data
Overhead can be considerable
Wireless packet switching using the internet as the WAN infrastructure. Uses network addressing to deliver packets. Because of security issues VPN technology must be used.
Least expensive, globally available
Telecommunications Service Providers manage large area networks that can span long distances. TSPs transports voice and data communications on separate networks. These networks that connect LANs in geographically separated locations are referred to as Wide Area Networks (WANs).
Major characteristics of WANs:
WANs generally connect devices that are separated by a broader geographical area that cannot be served by a LAN.
WANs use the services of carriers, such as telephone companies, cable companies, satellite systems, and network providers.
WANs use serial connections of various types to provide access to bandwidth over a large geographic area.