To connect one computer to another, a computer network is needed. One of them is the WAN network. This network is used to connect computers that are not physically in the same location.
Some of you may be familiar with LAN networks. Basically LAN, WAN, and MAN are three types of networks with different coverage areas.
As businesses expand their operations and rely more on technology, the need for robust and reliable networks becomes increasingly important. One of the most crucial networks that businesses need to understand is the WAN network.
This article will explain about WAN starting from its definition, function, how it works, its types, and and how businesses can leverage it to optimize their operations. Just follow the discussion below, come on!
What is a WAN Network?
WAN stands for Wide Area Network. WAN networks are usually used to meet the needs of computer networks with wide area coverage. This network coverage is the largest among the three networks mentioned above.
A WAN is a combined computer network of LAN and MAN networks. The coverage area of this network can reach a country and even a continent. Building this network requires fiber optic cables, telephone cables, or satellites. This is what makes it able to cover a wide area.
The internet is the most commonly used WAN network, and it connects millions of users worldwide. However, businesses can also create private WAN networks using leased lines or other dedicated connections. These private WAN networks offer higher security, reliability, and bandwidth than the internet.
Types of WAN Services
Now most WANs are provided by network provider companies or commonly called ISPs. There are several kinds of this network technology that are now quite commonly used. Here are some of them:
- Leased lines. This WAN technology uses a permanent connection between devices to provide a stable connection with the aim of minimizing packet loss. In other words, leased lines focus on connection quality management or QoS technologies.
- Frame relay. It is a WAN network technology that enables WAN communications over high-quality digital lines.
- Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). As the name suggests, this technology utilizes telephone connections to convert digital data into analog data. Usually, this technology uses hardware in the form of a modem.
The use of a network is of course to connect computers to one another. However, WAN networks also have other functions. We explain some of its functions in the following points:
1. Simplify Data Transmission
Such a wide area coverage makes WAN reliable to facilitate various data transmissions. For example, there are two offices that work together but are in different areas. With a WAN, both of them can still be in touch and transmit data quickly and practically.
WAN offers convenience for integration between devices, because these devices are connected to the same network. With the ease of data transmission, communication between two parties separated by long distances is also easier and smoother.
2. Connecting Networks with a Smaller Scope
In addition to integrating between devices, WAN networks also integrate networks with a smaller scope. Examples include LAN and MAN networks. WAN can be useful as a bridge that makes it easier for an agency to obtain information online up to date.
3. Assist Agency Operational Activities
WAN development is considered to cost quite a lot. However, the installation cost is actually quite cheap because it can connect devices in different countries or continents. This is the reason WAN is widely used by multinational companies. WAN greatly facilitates the operational activities of companies that are limited by regional differences.
How WANs Work?
Then, how does WAN work? In simple terms, a WAN network relies on two components: a transmission cable and a switching component. Both have different functions.
Transmission cables are used to transmit bits from one computer to another. Meanwhile, the switching component is responsible for connecting two (or more) transmission cables in a computer.
In practice required a computer as servers. This computer is used to fulfill access requirements databases from an agency. Furthermore, it is this server device that is tasked with sending database information and data packets to the network that has been built according to the topology.
Topology is a way of connecting one computer to another to form a network. This structure allows users and clients to access various information from the database even though they are limited by long distances.
Benefits of WAN Networks
WAN networks enable employees to work together seamlessly, regardless of their location. This enhances collaboration and productivity, leading to better outcomes for the business.
Better Resource Sharing
WAN networks enable businesses to share resources such as files, software, and hardware across multiple locations. This reduces costs and improves efficiency.
Private WAN networks offer higher security than the internet, as they are less vulnerable to attacks. Businesses can implement encryption and other security measures to protect their data.
WAN networks enable businesses to scale up or down their operations easily, as they can quickly add or remove devices or locations from the network.
WAN networks can be cost-effective, as businesses can leverage the internet to create a WAN network, reducing the need for expensive dedicated connections.
Advantages and Disadvantages of WANs
WAN has a number of advantages and disadvantages. To get a better picture of the use of WAN in practice in everyday life, you should know the advantages and disadvantages which will be explained in this discussion.
1. Disadvantages of WAN
When compared with other networks, WAN has several drawbacks. Some of them are as follows:
- It costs a lot. Wide WAN coverage makes installation, facilities, and maintenance costs quite expensive.
- Attack vulnerable. The scope of the network can also be considered as a weakness because it can be a gap for attacks from hackers.
- Need security facilities. Without security features, this network is vulnerable to disruption. Therefore, it is mandatory to use a firewall to secure all activities on the network.
- More complicated. WAN has more complicated settings and configurations compared to other networks.
2. Advantages of WAN
To evaluate it objectively, you should know the advantages of this network as well. Here are some of them:
- Able to cover a wide area coverage. WAN has a broad network system that can reach countries, continents, and the world.
- Provides fast data access. WAN networks use large bandwidth. That way, the speed of data transmission with the WAN can be faster.
- Can be used for various resources. WAN can be used to share resources by utilizing workstation connections.
- Provide data real-time. WAN speed allows users to use the same data in an instant.
WAN Network Devices
In order to be able to reach devices that are separated by very long distances, a Wide Area Network network requires several network devices. Here are some of them:
You certainly know this one device, right? The antenna is useful for capturing signals which are then transformed in the form of sound, writing, to images. This device is not the main component of the WAN network. However, antennas make it easy for WAN signals to propagate so that they can cover a wide area with stability.
The modem is an electronic device that functions to connect computers, cellphones, or other devices to the internet. The role of the modem is none other than sending data packets on the telephone line through signal modulation and demodulation.
Another WAN device is a router. Function of routers is as a sender of internet network data packets to other devices. Not only do routing tasks, this device also supports the network so that it remains stable when used.
How Can Businesses Leverage WAN Networks?
Businesses can leverage WAN networks in several ways to optimize their operations and gain a competitive advantage. Some of the ways include:
- Centralized Management: Businesses can centralize their IT management, reducing the need for on-site IT staff in each location.
- Cloud Computing: WAN networks enable businesses to use cloud computing services to store and process data, reducing the need for expensive on-site infrastructure.
- Video Conferencing: WAN networks enable businesses to conduct virtual meetings, reducing travel costs and improving collaboration.
- Disaster Recovery: WAN networks enable businesses to backup their data in multiple locations, ensuring business continuity in case of disasters.
- Improved Customer Service: WAN networks enable businesses to offer better customer service by providing faster response times and access to resources from multiple locations.
FAQ About WAN Networks
Here are some FAQs about WAN networks:
What does WAN stand for?
WAN stands for Wide Area Network.
What is a WAN network?
A WAN network is a network that spans a large geographical area, connecting multiple smaller networks such as LANs (Local Area Networks).
What is the difference between a WAN and a LAN network?
A WAN network spans a large geographical area and connects multiple smaller networks, while a LAN network is limited to a smaller geographical area, such as a building or a campus.
What are some examples of WAN networks?
The internet is the most common WAN network, but businesses can also create private WAN networks using leased lines or other dedicated connections.
How do WAN networks work?
WAN networks use protocols such as TCP/IP to enable communication between devices in different locations. Data is transmitted across the WAN network through packets, which are units of data that are broken down and reassembled at their destination.
What are the benefits of using a WAN network?
Some of the benefits of using a WAN network include improved collaboration, better resource sharing, higher security, increased flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
How can businesses leverage WAN networks?
Businesses can leverage WAN networks in several ways, including centralized management, cloud computing, video conferencing, disaster recovery, and improved customer service.
WAN (Wide Area Network) is a type of computer network that connects computers that are not physically in the same location. It is the largest network among LAN (Local Area Network) and MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), and can cover a country or even a continent.
WAN can be created using fiber optic cables, telephone cables, or satellites, and is commonly provided by ISPs. WAN can simplify data transmission, connect networks with a smaller scope, and assist operational activities of multinational companies.
WAN relies on two components: transmission cables and a switching component. There are various types of WAN services such as leased lines, Frame Relay, and PSTN. Private WAN networks offer higher security, reliability, and bandwidth than the internet.
The benefits of WAN include improved collaboration, better resource sharing, increased flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, WAN also has some disadvantages such as high installation and maintenance costs, vulnerability to attacks, and complexity in settings and configurations.