Wide Area Network (WAN)
Metropolitan, Regional, or National Boundary Linking
A WAN, or Wide Area Network, is a computer network that both covers a wide geographic area, and connects two or more LANs, or Local Area Networks. An example would be several offices of the same enterprise which are located in the same city, but not physically adjacent to one another. Each office has its own LAN, and the business demands of the enterprise require that each LAN appear to be an equal part of one large network, with no boundaries, gateways or transport delays. The enterprise’s WAN is one large network, with multiple sub-networks, all of which share the data, resources and applications available to one another with complete transparency, regardless of location or transport.
A WAN can cross states and countries, or interconnect several types of smaller networks, such as Metro Area Networks (MANs), Campus Area Networks (CANs), and even Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWANs). The world’s largest and most popular WAN, of course, is the Internet – whose timely invention created the mirage of free WAN transport technology for all. But, as anyone who’s ever watched an episode of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ knows, you can’t just call something a road and send mission-critical traffic down it with fingers crossed; WAN transport is more complex than that. From X.25, to private lines, to Frame Relay, to ATM, to IP-VPN, and currently to Carrier Ethernet or just Ethernet, successive transport technologies have become the WAN traffic ‘road’ of choice – and then been replaced by the next big thing.
Ethernet or Carrier Ethernet is currently the top dog of WAN transport technology, whose share of the transport market is growing exponentially, offering speeds up to 100 Gigabits where available. Ethernet as a WAN transport enjoys several game-changing advantages over its predecessors: serious ease-of-use due to its origination as a LAN technology; several ‘models’ on the market from the ‘entry-level’ Ethernet Over Copper to the home up to the ‘luxury flagship model’ Ethernet Over Optical Fiber found in Metro Area Networks; simple and fast scalability in both network size and bandwidth; all the same security, performance and optimization features; and best of all, extremely inexpensive in comparison to all previous options, with one possible exception. (IP-VPN, unfortunately, is not much of an alternative, because the public Internet is neither secure, nor controllable.) Carrier Ethernet is the standard for WAN transport technology in the business market because it offers prioritization of traffic, bandwidth guarantees, and lower latency, higher throughput, and high availability for the most critical applications – inexpensively, simply and quickly.
The communications specialists at EthernetLLC.com will work with you to find the premier Ethernet Service Provider in your area or the WAN transport technology options available. EthernetLLC.com partners with Cablevison, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Dish Network, Optimum Online, Time Warner, Verizon Fios, and Vonage for residential services, and Airband, Abovenet, Telnes, AireSpring, AT&T, CBeyond, CenturyLink, TW Telecom, EarthlLink, GTT, Integra, Nitel, Vocal IP, Windstream, XO, TelePacific and Smoothstone, for business services. Ethernet is the standard for WAN transport technology in the business market today because it offers everything your Wide Area Network needs inexpensively, simply and quickly.