What is WAN in Computer? (Types Explained)

A wide geographic area, such as a city, a nation, or even several nations, can be covered by a Wide Area Network (WAN), a particular kind of computer network. Smaller local area networks (LANs) and other kinds of networks are linked by wide area networks (WANs), enabling resource sharing and communication between them.

WANs can be used to connect networks in various places, such as various offices in a business or various branches of a government organization. In a single area, such as a campus or a sizable building, they can also be used to link networks.

LANs, which are typically used to connect computers and other devices inside of a single location, such as an office or a home, are different from WANs. WANs can connect multiple locations and can cover much larger areas than LANs, which are typically constrained in size and only able to cover a small area.

Leased lines, satellite links, and the Internet are a few of the technologies and protocols used to build and maintain WANs. Leased lines are devoted connections that are rented from a service provider between two locations. Data is transmitted between two locations via satellite links. By using a router to join several LANs together, it is also possible to use the Internet to create a WAN.

One of the main advantages of WANs is that they let devices communicate and share resources regardless of where they are. For instance, a business with multiple offices in various cities can use a WAN to enable staff members to access the same database or share files among themselves.

WANs are beneficial for bringing connectivity to remote locations where other types of connectivity might not be accessible. A WAN, for instance, can be used to link a distant research station to the Internet, enabling researchers to access data and get in touch with other researchers.

Types of WAN (Wide Area Network)

WANs are currently used in computer networks of a variety of different types. Here are a few of the most widespread:

  • Circuit-Switched WANs: The earliest type of WAN, circuit-switched WANs connect devices using exclusive communication channels. In order to facilitate data transfer, a connection must be made between two devices and a physical circuit must be established. The circuit is destroyed after the transfer is finished. Due to their high levels of dependability and quality, voice communication is frequently conducted over circuit-switched WANs.
  • Packet-Switched WANs: A more recent type of WAN, packet-switched WANs transmit data between devices using packets of data. Because they can send data to multiple devices at once rather than needing a separate connection for each one, packet-switched WANs are more effective than circuit-switched WANs. Usually, packet-switched WANs are used for internet access and data communication like file transfers.
  • Wireless WANs: Radio frequency (RF) technology is used by wireless WANs to transmit data wirelessly over long distances. They can be used to connect devices in a LAN or WAN or to give devices in a specific location access to the internet. Wi-Fi networks, cellular networks, and satellite networks are a few types of wireless WANs.
  • Optical WANs: These networks transmit data over great distances using optical fibers. These fibers can transmit data at very high speeds and are constructed of incredibly thin strands of glass or plastic. Large organizations frequently use optical WANs to connect to one another or to give remote locations internet access.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) WANs: VPN WANs enable private, secure connections between devices by utilizing public networks, such as the internet. Businesses frequently use VPN WANs to connect multiple offices in various locations or to give employees remote access to the company network.

WANs are a crucial component of contemporary computer networks because they enable data transfer and communication between devices that are spread out across different locations. Every WAN type has different features and advantages, so it’s crucial to pick the one that best suits your requirements.


A wide area network is a kind of computer network that connects various local area networks and other networks together across a wide geographic area. WANs are useful for connecting remote locations and supplying connectivity to places where other types of connectivity might not be available. They are used to share resources and communicate with one another.

I am the founder and owner of this website. I am a computer software and hardware enthusiast who enjoys troubleshooting and trying to fix computer-related issues. I hold MTech & BTech degrees in Computer Science & Engineering and have worked in the field for over 12 years.Throughout my career, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in various computer-related topics, including software, hardware, and programming. I love sharing my knowledge with others and helping people learn more about the exciting world of computers.