A wide area network (WAN) is a geographically distributed private telecommunications network that interconnects multiple local area networks (LANs). Business, education and government entities use wide area networks to relay data to staff, students, clients, buyers, and suppliers from various locations around the world. In essence, this mode of telecommunication allows a business to effectively carry out its daily function regardless of location.
In an enterprise, a WAN may consist of connections to a company's headquarters, branch offices, colocation facilities, cloud services and other facilities. Enterprise WANs allow users to share access to applications, services, and other centrally located resources. This eliminates the need to install the same application server, firewall or other resources in multiple locations, for example.
Types of WAN connections.
WAN connections can include wired and wireless technologies.
Wired WAN services can include:
- multiprotocol label switching
- Carrier Ethernet
- Commercial broadband internet links
Wireless WAN technologies can include:
- Cellular data networks like 4G LTE
- Public Wi-Fi
- Satellite networks