WAN, or wide area network, is a type of network that connects LANs or other types of networks. It allows users of one location to communicate with computers in other locations. Fortinet also says WANs allow localized networks to connect over long distances because they are not linked to a specific area. Many WANs are private networks, but Internet service providers also build some to connect the LAN of an organization to the rest of the world. To understand the difference between LAN and WAN, let’s look at some examples.
Wired vs. wireless vs. 4G LTE
Wired networks are the fastest and provide the most security, while wireless connections are less secure but more convenient. Moreover, wired networks have more ports but are untidy and require a minimum number of cables. Wireless networks are more expensive than wired ones, so you must carefully weigh the pros and cons of each.
While 4G wireless offers unparalleled performance, it is imperative to be cautious in using it. Some providers are moving away from “unlimited” data plans and replacing them with pay-per-MB plans. As a result, it is not uncommon for someone to spend hundreds of dollars a month to take advantage of the incredible speed of 4G. Even tech columnists have cited examples of people burning through their monthly data allotment in just one day.
The principle behind MPLS WAN operation is simple: it works with the Internet Protocol and routing protocols. Its network architecture supports label-switched paths (LSPs), which act as transmission paths for voice and data packets. LSPs can support a variety of transport payloads, including asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), Ethernet, and frame relay. They also support traffic engineering. As a result, MPLS can be deployed at multiple network levels, including the public network of an ISP.
Many businesses are moving toward SD-WAN technology to supplement or replace their existing MPLS networks. This technology can augment or replace expensive MPLS connections with lower-cost internet links. The SD-WAN technology provides application-aware connectivity, making it easier to manage traffic without the hassles of managing WAN infrastructure. The advantages of SD-WAN are numerous, but they all rely on SD-WAN. SD-WAN can deliver performance metrics, traffic shaping techniques, and network visibility.
There are two main types of WAN networks: point-to-point and packet-switched. Both networks can be built using various technologies, including local telephone companies and long-distance carriers. Point-to-point networks are typically chosen by organizations with low data volumes or those with many sites. Multiple dedicated lines would be too expensive for these organizations. In contrast, packet-switched networks are built using various technologies, such as optical fiber.
To provide a network for a large group of users, WANs link many LANs together. WANs are also private networks that provide employees access to information that might not be available on a local network. WANs use different protocols and rules to ensure that the correct information is accessible.
Satellite systems are not islands; they’re just a utility that connects users to the Internet. Different connection points take on different roles. For example, 5G backhaul requires satellite systems to connect the RAN to the core network. And numerous IoT devices require access to the Internet, which means more satellite systems are needed to connect them all.
Throughput is a concern with satellite communications. However, latency is also a concern, as the data must travel a great distance before reaching its destination. While it may seem like the trip to the satellite is fast, the actual journey is more prolonged, at up to 186,000 miles per second. With that kind of distance, it’s important to consider the latency when comparing satellites and other networks.