Definition of wide area network (WAN)

Wide area network (WAN) is a type of network that provides transmission of voice, data, images, and videos over the large geographical area. WAN is made with the combinations of LAN and MAN. The transmission of data is carried out with the help of hubs, switches, fiber optics, modem, and routers. To transfer data from any computer over the internet we use some technologies including:

  1. ISDN (Integrated service digital network)
  2. SMDS (Switched multimegabit data server)
  3. SONET (Synchronous optical network)
  4. HDLC (High data link control)
  5. SDLC (Synchronous data link control)
  6. Frame relay
Wide area network (WAN) diagram
Wide area network (WAN) diagram

Advantages of a wide area network (WAN)

Covers large geographical area:

Wan covers a large geographical area of 1000 km or more If your office is in different cities or countries then you can connect your office branches through wan. ISP (Internet service provider) can give you leased lines by which you can connect different branch offices together.

Centralized data:

Your company doesn’t need to buy email, files, and backup servers, they can all reside on head office. All office branches can share the data through the head office server. You can get back up, support, and other useful data from the head office and all data are synchronized with all other office branches.

Get updated files and data:

Software companies work over the live server to exchange updated files. So all the coders and office staff get updated version of files within seconds.

A lot of application to exchange messages:

With IOT (Internet of things) and new LAN technologies, messages are being transmitted fast. A lot of web applications are available like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Skype by which you can communicate with friends via text, voice and video chat.

Sharing of software and resources:

Like LAN we can share software applications and other resources like a hard drive, RAM with other users on the internet. In web hosting, we share computer resources among many websites.

Global business:

Now everyone with computer skills can do business on the internet and expand his business globally. There are many types of business like a shopping cart, sale, and purchase of stocks etc.

High bandwidth:

If you get leased lines for your company then it gives high bandwidth than normal broadband connection. You can get a high data transfer rate that can increase your company productivity.

Distribute workload and decrease travel charges:

Another benefit of wide area network is that you can distribute your work to other locations. For example, you have an office in the U.S then you can hire people from any other country and communicate with them easily over WAN. It also reduces your travel charges as you can monitor the activities of your team online.

Disadvantages of a wide area network (WAN)

Security problems:

WAN has more security problem as compare to MAN and LAN. WAN has many technologies combined with each other which can create a security gap.

Needs firewall and antivirus software:

As data transferred on the internet can be accessed and changed by hackers so firewall needs to be enabled in the computer. Some people can also inject a virus into the computer so antivirus software needs to be installed. Other security software also needs to be installed on different points in WAN.

The setup cost is high:

Setting up WAN for the first time in office costs higher money. It may involve purchasing routers, switches, and extra security software.

Troubleshooting problems:

As WAN covers a lot of areas so fixing the problem in it is difficult. Most of WAN wires go into the sea and wires get broken sometimes. It involves a lot of resources to fix lines under the sea. In ISP (Internet service provider) head office many of internet lines, routers are mixed up in rooms and fixing issues on the internet requires a full-time staff.

Server down and disconnection issue:

In some areas, ISP faces problems due to electricity supply or bad lines structure. Customers often face connectivity issues or slow Internet speed issues. The solution to this is to purchase a dedicated line from ISP.

Examples of wide area network (WAN)

Some examples of WAN are below:

  • Internet
  • U.S defense department
  • Most big banks
  • Airline companies
  • Stock brokerages
  • Railway reservations counter
  • Large telecommunications companies like Airtel store IT department
  • Satellite systems
  • Cable companies
  • Network providers

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