What is a WAN(Wide Area Network) and How Does it Work?

What is a WAN(Wide Area Network) and How Does it Work?All detail with examples.


  • What is wide area network
  • WAN examples
  • Working of  Wide Area Network
  • Connectivity of WAN sites facilitates with a virtual private network
  • Types of wide area network connections
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of wide area network


Wide area network WAN

What is WAN (wide area network)

Wide area network  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 computers and users in one location can communicate with computers and users in other locations.
It’s implement with the help of the public a private network or transmission system.The transmission of data is carry out with the help of hubs, switches, fiber optics, modem, and routers.

To transfer data from one computer over the internet we use some technologies including:

  • ISDN (Integrated service digital network)
  • SMDS (Switched multi-megabit data server)
  • SONET (Synchronous optical network)
  • HDLC (High data link control)
  • SDLC (Synchronous data link control)
  • Frame relay

WAN examples:

  • Internet
  • U.S defense department
  • Most big banks
  • Airline companies
  • Stock brokerages
  • Railway tickets reservations counter
  • Large telecommunications companies e.g Air-tel store IT department
  • Satellite systems
  • Cable companies
  • Network providers

Working of  Wide Area Network

A WAN connects more than one LAN.It is use to connect larger geographical areas. WANs are similar to a banking system, where hundreds of branches in different cities are connect with each other to share their official materials.
A WAN work same like a LAN, just on a larger scale. TCP/IP is the protocol uses for a wide area network.

WAN is combine with devices such as switches, firewalls, routers and modems.In an enterprise, a wide area network may connect to company’s headquarters, branch offices,cloud services and all other facilities.
Enterprise WANs allow users to share access to applications, services.These are centrally located resources.This eliminates the need to install the same application server, firewall or other resource in multiple locations.


Connectivity of wide area network sites facilitates with a virtual private network (VPN):

We use an IP-sec VPN in continuously open site-to-site connections,like branch offices and headquarters locations.
An SSL VPN mostly uses to enable remote access for individual users. Because the encrypt data is transmit from users on the WAN.
Fiber optic cable is use in wide area network,As they offer high performance, reliability and security than VPNs. But it is very expensive.

Types of Wide Area Network connections:

It include wire and wireless technologies connection.

Wire wide area network:

This service include multi-protocol label switching, T1s, Carrier Ethernet and commercial broadband internet links.

Wireless wide area network:

This technologies include cellular data networks like 4G LTE, as well as public Wi-Fi or satellite networks. WANs over wire network connections are prefer in medium for enterprises. wide area network‘s wireless technologies, base on the 4G LTE standard, are popular in use.

How to get Wide Area Network Services:

It may be privately own or service from a third-party,such as a telecommunications carrier, internet service provider, private IP network operator or cable company.
The service itself may operate over a dedicated, private connection.These are share over public medium like the internet.

Advantages and Disadvantages of wide area network

Advantages of WAN:

Covers large area:

WAN can covers a large area of 1000 km or more.You can connect with WAN,even if your offices are in different cities or countries.ISP (Internet service provider) provide you leased lines.You can connect with your branches through lease lines.

Centralize data:

Your organization doesn’t need to buy email, files, and backup servers.You can use all these from your head office.
All data are share to offices through head office server.You can recover data with help of backup.All data are synchronize with all other office branches.

Get update form of files and data:

Software companies work over the live server to exchange updated files.So you will get updated data files within seconds.

A lot of application to exchange messages:

With IOT (Internet of things) and new LAN technologies, messages are being transmit very fast.Many web applications are available like Facebook messenger, Whats-app, Skype.You can communicate with friends through text, voice and video chat.

Sharing of software and resources:

Same Like LAN we can share software applications.We can share resources like a hard drive,RAM.In web hosting, we also share computer resources among different websites.

Global business:

Now-a-days everyone can do business on the internet.He/She can expand his business globally.Many types of business like a shopping cart, sale, and purchase of stocks etc are done with the help of networks.

High bandwidth:

If you get leased lines for your organization you get high bandwidth.Even more than normal broadband connection.
You can get a high data transfer rate for your company productivity.

Distribute work load:

You can distribute your work to other locations with WANs. E.g you have an office in the U.A.E,You can hire people from any other country.You can communicate with employs easily over wide area network. It also reduces your travel charges as you can monitor the activities of your team online.

You can read more about “wireless technologies” click here


Disadvantages of WAN:

Security problems:

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

Needs firewall and antivirus software:

As data transfer on the internet can be access and change by hackers.So firewall needs to enabled in the computer.
Some people can also inject a virus into the computer.So antivirus software needs to install. Many other security software also needs to be install.

The setup cost is high:

It is very costly to setup WAN network with higher money.We need to purchase routers, switches, and extra security software.

Troubleshooting problems:

  • As wide area network covers a lot of areas.It is difficult to fix the problem.
  • Most of WAN wires go into the sea and wires.Many of them get broken.
  • It needs 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.





You can also read this topic here What is WAN with all detail.