Introduction to Wide Area Network (WANs)

MatthewA By MatthewA, 5th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Technology>Computer Hardware

Wide area networks are sometimes referred to as WAN. The WAN, is a type of network with a number of hardware and geographic features.

Introduction to Wide Area Network (WANs)

To begin with, wide area networks are larger than your average local network. They tend to have many interconnected computers, over larger geographical areas. This is as obvious as the name wide area networks suggests.

Aside from the geographic factors, the WAN is more for communications. After all, the early research for this type of network was done on that basis, in the cold war era when the American military first devised computer networking. It was here, that the first wide area networks were founded. Now, they are publicly used.

You will find that wide area networks rely more on leased lines and servers than smaller network types. Ethernet is a popular connection type with wider area networks. Aside from this circuit switching, as with dial up connections, is another connection type. Packet switching and cell relay are two other good examples of connections. They have their advantages and disadvantages.

Wide area networks tend to be based on the client-servers basis. Here, the interconnected nodes (or work stations) link to a central server for their connection. Then, any services can be distributed via the central server.

Wide area networks do not have the fastest data transfer rates. They are slower than local area networks in this respect, which have faster connections. However, they can be variable with some faster than others.

The wide area network has some hardware requirements. Routers, bridges, hubs and gateways are all needed for the wide area network, along with the nodes themselves which make up the network. All are used for the interconnectivity of the network.

Wide area networks may have some password requirements. This is optional of course, but they are certainly more public than smaller networks which may have user rights. This is not so much the case with the wide area network.

What more can be said of the wide area network? It is not to be confused with smaller networks which are referred to as local area networks, which is abbreviated to LAN for short. There are a good number of differences between the two types, like the hardware, topology and general use.

Overall, the wide area network is a great tool to use. You will find the wide area network is not for sharing printers and hardware, but for communications.


Lan, Wan, Wide Area Network

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at

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