Wide Area Network (WAN)
A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network or computer network that extends over a large geographical distance. Wide area networks are often established with leased telecommunication circuits.
Business, education and government entities use wide area networks to relay data among staff, students, clients, buyers, and suppliers from various geographical locations. In essence, this mode of telecommunication allows a business to effectively carry out its daily function regardless of location. The Internet may be considered a WAN.
Related terms for other types of networks are personal area networks (PANs), local area networks (LANs), campus area networks (CANs), or metropolitan area networks (MANs) which are usually limited to a room, building, campus or specific metropolitan area respectively.
A computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more local-area networks (LANs).
Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.
What is a WAN?
A wide area network (WAN) is a geographically dispersed telecommunications network. The term distinguishes a broader telecommunication structure from a local area network (LAN). A wide area network may be privately owned or rented, but the term usually connotes the inclusion of public (shared user) networks. An intermediate form of network in terms of geography is a metropolitan area network (MAN).