WAN extends over a large geographical area. It is not confined within an office, school, city, or town and is mainly set up by telephone lines, fiber optic, or satellite links. It is mostly used by big organizations like banks and multinational companies to communicate with their branches and customers across the world. Although it is structurally similar to MAN, it is different from MAN in terms of its range, e.g., MAN covers up to 50 Kms, whereas WAM covers distances larger than 50 Km, e.g., 1000km or more.
A WAN works by using TCP/IP protocol in combination with networking devices such as switches, routers, firewalls, and modems. It does not connect individual computers; rather, they are designed to link small networks like LANs and MANs to create a large network. The internet is considered the largest WAN in the world as it connects various LANs and MANs through ISPs.
The computers are connected to the wide area network through public networks, such as telephone systems, leased lines or satellites. The users of a WAN do not own the network as it is a large setup connecting the remote computer systems. However, they are required to subscribe to a service provided by a telecommunication provider to use this network.
Advantages of a WAN:
- Large Network Range: It spans a large geographical area of 2000 km or more, e.g., from one country to another countries.
- Centralized data: It allows your different office branches to use your head office server for retrieving and sharing data. Thus, you don?t need to buy email servers, files server and back up servers, etc.
- Get updated files and data: It provides an ideal platform for companies who need a live server for their employees to exchange updated files within seconds.
- High bandwidth: It offers high bandwidth than a normal broadband connection. Thus, it can increase the productivity of your company by offering uninterrupted data transfer and communication.
- Workload Distribution: It helps distribute your workload to other locations. You can hire employees in different countries and assign them to work from your office.
Examples of WAN:
US defense department
Stock exchanges network
Railway reservation system
Big Banks’ cash dispensers’ network