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Wide Area Network: Advantages and Disadvantages

3 November 2020

Wide Area Network

We often imagine the Internet as a global service for the sake of simplicity. However, it can also be looked at as a set of connected pieces that work together. One example can be seen in what is known as a Wide Area Network (WAN). What is a Wide Area Network and what is it’s purpose? What are the specific benefits and drawbacks associated with this unique type of data transmission? Let’s begin by defining a WAN network.

What is WAN Network?

A WAN is normally associated with a large geographic region (such as a country, city or state). It can be engineered for both public and private uses. The main aim of a WAN is to allow smaller “nodes” within its design (such as cloud-based servers or local area networks) to effectively communicate with each other.

You should keep in mind that distance is not as relevant as you may first think. While a WAN may connect a number of parts of a regional business, it can also be used to allow two servers which are located thousands of miles away to communicate within a real-time scenario.

The Primary Benefits of a Wide Area Network

One of the main reasons why businesses choose to use this type of network is from the fact that geographical distances are not main concerns. This could be very important for larger organisations that have offices around the globe. WAN technologies are also able to support very large and intricate internal networks. In an event that another “node” needs to be added, this can normally be addressed without placing an excessive amount of strain on the system as a whole.

Are There Any Notable Drawbacks Associated with WAN Technologies?

Of course, any objective WAN definition should also make it a point to highlight some possible disadvantages. One concern is slower connection speeds. Due to the sheer size of many WAN networks, users may experience lag times between when a packet of data is sent and received. This can become even more pronounced if the network is spread over extremely long distances. Another possible sticking point is the cost of establishing and maintaining a WAN. As these networks are quite large, they might not always be the best option financially. The cost may also involve the complicated processes of initially setting up the required servers. However, these factors will depend on the size of the network.

We can now see that there are some interesting benefits and possible pitfalls with Wide Area Networks. Might these represent the best solutions for your business? Do you have other questions that were not covered in this article? If so, please take a moment to contact one of our specialists. WAN services can be quite handy in specific scenarios, so it is always wise to look at them in more detail.

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