What is a WAN?
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A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that extends over a large geographic area. WANs are often established with leased telecommunication circuits. They can be used to connect different local area networks (LANs) together, or to connect a LAN to the internet.
WANs are used by businesses, governments, and other organizations to connect their offices, data centers, and other resources together. They can also be used by individuals to connect to the internet from remote locations.
There are many different types of WANs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of WANs include:
- Leased lines: Leased lines are dedicated connections that are leased from a telecommunications provider. They offer the best performance and reliability, but they can be expensive.
- Digital subscriber line (DSL): DSL is a type of broadband internet connection that uses the existing telephone network. It is less expensive than leased lines, but it also offers lower speeds.
- Terrestrial microwave: Terrestrial microwave is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to transmit data over long distances. It is a good option for areas that do not have access to other types of WANs.
- Satellite: Satellite WANs use satellites to transmit data over long distances. They are a good option for areas that are remote or have difficult terrain.
The choice of WAN technology depends on the specific needs of the organization or individual.
Why is a WAN network used?
WANs are used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Connecting different LANs together
- Connecting a LAN to the internet
- Providing remote access to resources
- Sharing data and applications
- Supporting voice and video traffic
- Disaster recovery
WANs are essential for businesses that need to connect their offices, data centers, and other resources together. They are also becoming increasingly important for individuals who need to connect to the internet from remote locations.
The future of WANs
The future of WANs is likely to be shaped by the increasing demand for high-speed internet access and the growing popularity of cloud computing. WANs will need to be able to support high-bandwidth applications and data traffic, and they will need to be able to connect to cloud-based resources.
Some of the technologies that are expected to play a role in the future of WANs include:
- Ethernet over MPLS (EoMPLS): EoMPLS is a technology that uses Ethernet frames to carry data over a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network. EoMPLS offers high performance and scalability, and it is a good option for connecting LANs together.
- Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN): SD-WAN is a new approach to WAN networking that uses software to control and manage WAN traffic. SD-WAN can be used to improve performance, reduce costs, and simplify WAN management.
- Network slicing: Network slicing is a technology that allows a single WAN to be divided into multiple virtual networks. This can be used to provide different levels of service to different users or applications.
The future of WANs is promising. As the demand for high-speed internet access and cloud computing continues to grow, WANs will need to evolve to meet the needs of businesses and individuals.
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