mysqlallowremoteconnectionsUnlike LAN or Local Area Network, WAN or a Wide Area Network spans over a large geographical area, which can be over a state, province or country. WANs often connect multiple smaller networks, such as LANs or metro area networks (MANs). One good example of a WAN is the Internet. Many WANs are corporate or research networks that utilize leased lines.

WANs normally use the public telecommunication system to provide cost-effective connection between LANs. WAN communication can use the public packet-switched networks, satellite communication networks, and wireless packet switching network. Since these links are supplied by independent telecommunications utilities, they are commonly referred to as ‘communication cloud’.  Routers perform this type of activity. They store the message at LAN speed and re-transmit it across the communication cloud at a different speed.  When the entire message has been received at the access router of the remote LAN, it is once again forwarded at LAN speed.  A typical speed at which a WAN interconnects varies between 9600 bps for a leased line to 40 Gbps for a SDH/SONET connection.

Types of WAN Connection

WAN connections are usually of these types:

    1. Circuit switching – This is a temporary connection between two points such as dial-up or ISDN.
    2. Packet switching – This is a connection between multiple points. It breaks data down into small packets to be sent across the network. A virtual circuit can improve performance by establishing a set path for data transmission. This will shave some overhead of a packet switching network. Frame Relay and X.25 are packet switching technologies.  Speeds can vary from 56Kbps to 2.048Mbps.

Browse through the course CCNP Switch 642-813 Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks to learn more on LAN and switched networks.

WAN Connection Technologies and Protocols

WAN technologies function at the lower three layers of the OSI reference model:

• Physical Layer (L1)

• Data Link Layer (L2)

• Network Layer (L3)

TCP/IP Training Video A Definitive & Easy To Follow Course gives you an overview of the layers, networks, TCP/IP fundamentals, and connection Protocols for WAN.

Here are some of the important protocols used by a WAN connection:


WAN is mainly used to cover large geographical areas so that long distance businesses can connect over one network. It helps in sharing of software and resources with connecting workstations. But WAN connection can be very costly and slow. Also you need a good firewall to protect the network from outsiders. If reliability is needed for a time critical application, WANs can be quite unreliable, as delay in the information transmission is varied and wide.  For this reason, WANs can only be used if the necessary error detection or correction software is in place, and if propagation delays can be tolerated within certain limits.

To know more about other Networks like VPN, naviagte through the course Virtual Private Networks for beginners – VPN, Cisco training.  As the demand for professionals knowledgeable in Networking and Switching technology is on the rise, it may be a good idea to take the CCNP Switch Examto add more feathers to your cap.

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