The Complete Guide to WAN Technology Types and Their Properties

There are many kinds of WAN technology, and this guide will introduce you to the common ones and cover topologies and architectures. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as what they can do for your business. This article will help you understand how different types of WANs work and how you can benefit.

WAN technology

A vast area network or WAN is a networking system where computers share hardware and data. WAN is commonly used for local-level communications. WAN networks are generally more expensive because they use many nodes. LAN networks are cheaper, but there are a few drawbacks. A Complete Guide to WAN technology types and their properties can help you decide which is the best for your needs.

WANs vary in speed, ranging from a few kilobits per second to several megabits per second. Propagation delay is the biggest drawback of WAN technology. Data is transmitted through fibers or optical wires, or microwaves. Some WANs use ATM networks, while others are point-to-point (similar to dial-up lines).

WAN protocols

WAN technology is a computer network that spans regions, countries, and the world. Compared to LAN technology, WANs are designed to connect geographically dispersed locations, and they can transmit data over very long distances. The critical difference between LAN and WAN is their design. LANs are typically intended to connect two or more locations physically close to each other.

Metro Ethernet service uses physical Ethernet lines to connect the customer’s network devices to the service provider’s network. A WAN architecture needs a central site device to send Layer 2 frames to remote sites. However, a remote site can only send frames back to the main site. The E-Tree topology, which is used for Metro Ethernet service, has the main site called a “Root” and a few peripheral sites called “Leaves.” This topology is also known as Hub and Spoke. It satisfies the requirement for a hub site.

WAN architectures

A WAN allows organizations to connect branches and offices without purchasing separate internet connections. However, these networks do not offer the same level of security and protection as a private network. They are also vulnerable to data hacking. A security firewall is essential for these networks; their setup can be complex and costly.

Broadband: bandwidth-intensive applications may benefit from the availability of a WAN. For example, a WAN may depend on physical connections provided by carriers. The type of communications protocol used by WANs will determine its architecture. Most corporate data is carried through WANs using multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). MPLS network labels allow routers to decide where to forward packets, classify them, and assign different priorities to different applications.

WAN topologies

WAN topologies are based on a network design connecting different sites with high-capacity network cabling. With this topology, each site has a virtual point-to-point circuit that links it to the next. Since each site is only linked to two other areas, it requires only one physical link to the concentrator. Unfortunately, the cost of installing and maintaining multiple links can be prohibitively high.

There are many different WAN topologies, such as point-to-point and hub-and-spoke. The simplest topologies are point-to-point, which employ point-to-point links to connect two or more endpoints. For example, a hub and spoke topology use point-to-point links to safeguard branch locations. Mesh topologies provide high availability, but each system must be networked. This design is expensive, both in physical space and administrative costs.

WAN service providers

When connecting different locations or work areas across an extensive network, you should know what to look for in each type of WAN technology. These networks can be used for several purposes, ranging from backup solutions and business continuity to streaming media and large data transfers. 

WANs are commonly used to connect regional offices or multiple sites. A large organization, law firm, or healthcare provider, for example, might have several branches, all of which need to share data. WANs enable regional offices to share data, meaning there is no need for separate email servers and file servers for each location. And the most crucial benefit of a WAN is that it is easy to upgrade and expand, so you can use it as your business grows.

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