Wide area network

The term wide area network is used to describe a network that spans multiple geographic locations. Consider an example. A company has two offices, one in London and one in Berlin. Both offices have a LAN. If the company connects these two LANs together using WAN technology, a WAN is created.

The key difference between LANs and WANs is that the company usually doesn’t own WAN infrastructure. A company usually leases WAN services from a service provider. A WAN spanning multiple cities could look something like this:

Wide Area Network example

Frame Relay, ATM and X.25 are different types of WAN technologies. The Internet can also be considered a WAN.

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