A wide area network (also known as a WAN) is an extensive information network that is not tied to a single location. WANs can enable communication, information exchange, and more between devices around the world through a WAN service provider.
WANs can be vital for international business, but they are also necessary for everyday use, as the Internet is regarded as the largest WAN in the world.
Read on to learn more about WANs, how they are used, how they differ from other networks, and their general use for businesses and individuals.
Table of Contents
- What is a Wide Area Network (WAN)?
- What is the Aim of a WAN Connection?
- Types of WAN Connections
- What is a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)?
- History of WANs
- Interplanetary Internet
What is a Wide Area Network (WAN)?
As stated above, wide area networks are a form of a telecommunications network that can connect devices from multiple locations and around the world. WANs are by far the largest and most extensive forms of computer networks.
These networks are typically set up by service providers who lease their WANs to businesses, schools, governments, or the public.
These clients can use the network to transmit and store data or communicate with other users, regardless of their distance, as long as they have entree to the established WAN.
Access can be granted through a variety of connections, such as lines or virtual private networks (VPNs), wireless networks, cellular networks, or Internet access.
For international organizations, WANs allow them to perform their main daily functions without delay. Employees, wherever they are, can use WAN enterprises to share data, communicate with associates, or stay connected to that organization’s broader data resource centre.
Authorized Network Professionals help organizations maintain their internal wide area network and other critical IT infrastructure.
Examples of WLANs
Two common examples are Ethernet and wireless LANs. Wireless LANs are also called WLANs. The other forms of telecommunications networks are:
- Personal Networks (PAN)
- Metropolitan networks (MAN)
- Internet or Cloud Networks (IAN)
What is the Aim of a WAN Connection?
If WAN connections did not exist, companies would be isolated in limited areas or specific geographic regions. Local networks would allow organizations to operate in their building. Still, growth to outdoor spaces, whether in different cities or even other countries, would not be possible as the associated infrastructure would be too expensive for most organizations.
As organizations grow and become international, WANs enable them to communicate between affiliates, share information and stay online.
When employees get to work, WANs give them access to the information they need to get the job done. WANs also aid organizations share information with customers, as well as with partner organizations, such as B2B customers or customers.
However, WANs also provide essential service to the public. University students can rely on extensive networks to access library databases or university research. And people rely on WANs every day for their communications, banking, shopping, and more.
Types of WAN Connections
As data continues to spread at breakneck speed, service providers of all sizes – from LAN to WAN – are starting to feel a strain on what their networks can support. This has, among other things, led to new ways of optimizing data to increase data collection, reduce bandwidth and consolidate servers.
Because WANs are so large, modern organizations want a modernized version of a WAN connection. Software-Defined WANs (SD-WANs) one solution businesses are starting to look to because they can help alleviate serious traffic problems by sharing and streaming data.
SD-WANs use intelligent software that can watch the performance of various WAN connections and then map the data appropriately to the appropriate connection for the type of traffic that users require.
For example, a company can have many different forms of WAN telecommunications, from email and conference calls to data exchange and dedicated server networks, and SD-WANs generally help ease the burden of all of these connections. by selecting the appropriate channel. to upload data.
The request for data will continue to grow exponentially over the next several decades, so more high-level forms of WAN connections may continue to evolve.
Even now, NASA is working on designing an interplanetary Internet for future research and is currently using the Space Station’s International Disturbance Tolerance Network (DTN).
The biggest concern will be dealing with the data transfer rate, as the greater the distance between the two servers, the longer it will take for the data to move from point A to point B.
WANs have become an important part of human communication and business relationships. As the world continues to grow, WANs can also evolve and develop new forms of technology.
What is a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)?
A software-defined WAN or SD-WAN is a WAN that uses software to route traffic, in addition to or in place of traditional routers.
With SD-WAN, network functions are virtualized and run on software rather than hardware, making IT management much easier for IT teams. Some SD-WAN vendors offer software-defined routers that can at least partially replace existing hardware routers.
SD-WANs are a form of software-defined network (SDN), a category of technology that allows you to manage networks using the software.
They are also a crucial component of the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution, combining network security and network functions into a single cloud-based service.
History of WANs
WANs have been around since the beginnings of computer networks. Early examples of WANs included switching telephone lines, but technological advancements now include wireless transmission and optical transmission. Data can also be transmitted over leased lines or even by satellite transmission.
As technologies have changed, transmission speeds have changed. The beginnings of the 2400 bps modem have evolved into 40 Gbps connectivity and today 100 Gbps.
These speed increases have made it possible to connect more devices to networks, as witnessed by the explosion of computers, phones, tablets and small devices of the Internet of Things.
Also, speed improvements have allowed applications to use a tremendous amount of bandwidth that can travel over a high-speed WAN. This has enabled businesses to deploy applications such as video conferencing and massive file backup.
No one would think of video conferencing over a 28Kbps modem, but now employees can sit in a booth and participate in a global corporate meeting via video.
Many WAN connections are provided through the services of mobile operators, where user traffic passes through facilities shared by other customers. Customers can also purchase special links that connect point-to-point circuits and are used to drive individual customers.
They are typically used for high priority applications or latency-sensitive applications that have high bandwidth requirements, such as video conferencing.
Connections between WAN sites can be protected with virtual private network (VPN) technology that replaces security features, including authentication, encryption, privacy, and denial.
WAN technologies are not limited to Earth. NASA and different space agencies are working to build a reliable “interplanetary Internet” for transmitting test messages between the International Space Station and earth stations.
The Tolerant Networking Program (DTN) is the first step in providing an Internet framework for communication between space devices, including communication between the Earth and the Moon or other planets.
But until we reach technology faster than light, network speeds will likely exceed the speed of light.