Tap to Read ➤

WAN (Wireless Area Network) Technology

Wide Area Network technology has revolutionized communication. It has made the world an integrated global village, taking networking to improbable heights.
Omkar Phatak Jan 23, 2019
The Wide Area Network technology is a method of creating an intelligent data sharing network of computers, whose complexity and scale make it extend over a city, a region, or a country. It may even be an international network. The Internet is the widest WAN ever constructed.
It is like the single most and biggest continuously linked hardware network in the world. What kind of infrastructure and technology makes a WAN possible ? It is a combination of an intelligent network architecture, quantized data interchange, and a protocol language that regulates the flow of predestined data.
The WAN forms and grows like any other network through the integration of small local area networks (LANs), which in turn are clusters of smaller networks.
Nowadays, private organizations like big software companies have their own WANs constructed. It makes their internal communication simpler and more secure. Internet service providers grant connectivity and infrastructure to private LANs and integrate them into the Internet.
Wide area networks can be constructed in a variety of ways, depending on what kind of linking or Internet connection is used. WANs could also be classified on the basis of what kind of Internet protocol or data sharing technique they use.

What is Wide Area Network Technology

Wide area network technology has three major components. The main component is the data line that connects the network to the Internet superhighway. This may vary in the data transfer speed it offers. Then come the routers, which are the data control mechanism, and the software component or protocol mechanism.
Routers are the most important components in this technology. They are also called 'Level 3 switches'. Routers, coupled with data sharing protocols, form a huge delivery system.
All data transmitted on the Internet is always labeled with the destination address, which is a numerical name assigned to every computer connected on the network. They are called 'Internet protocol (IP) addresses'.
Routers decide bandwidth allocation for every type of data that is transmitted. They are placed at nodes of a network connecting many subnets together. A subnet is a network of computers with an identical initial part in the IP address. You could say that all those computers in a subnet are on a common suburb in the network distribution.
The routers handle varying kinds of data like server-client requests and data packets with the help of TCP/IP protocol in case of the Internet.
The protocol types may vary in the sense of what set of points are being connected at a time and what rules are followed. So one could classify types of WANs based on the type of main connection line or the kind of protocol implemented.

Types of WAN

Leased Line

It is the most expensive of all types and also the most secure. It uses a point-to-point connection from the WAN hub to the specific LAN point. This option is used by most big software corporations as not only does it offer superior security features but also higher data transfer rate.
It uses the PPP(Point-to-point protocol), the HNAS, the HDLC, or SDLC protocol. They are all specialized protocol mechanisms designed for security and error-free operation.

Circuit Switching

These are relatively cheaper connections and rely on making a physical circuit path between two points. The dial-up connections are examples of such types. They use the landline telephone infrastructure for data transmission. The speed offered is usually 30 Kbps to 150 Kbps. The protocols used are PPP or ISDN.

Packet Switching

They use dynamic circuit paths with single point to multiple point linking. The data is sliced into variable sized packets irrespective of its type. Varying types of data use the same media link and therefore, there are congestion and queuing delays in delivery. It uses the X.25 Frame relay protocol, which happens to be one of the first ones ever developed.

Cell Relay

This is quite similar in structure to packet switching type but divides data into equally-sized packets or cells. It is supposed to be very efficient for synchronous voice and video transmission and provides amazing clarity. It uses the ATM (Asynchronous Transfer mode) protocol.

Wireless WAN

WAN technology has also taken the step to the next level of network integration, which is based on the mobile phone platform. It provides Internet connectivity through the wireless telecommunication mode and is called Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN).
It is a part of the third generation (3G) mobile technologies, that are now on offer. It takes advantage of the advances in mobile technology and the development of mobile infrastructure to deliver high quality and high speed Internet access. The data control mechanisms and protocols for this new technology are different.
Thus, WAN has taken communication to a new level and opened up a torrent of information and possibilities, placing immense power at our fingertips. Today, thanks to this technology, you can stay in touch with anybody across the world. It has brought the world to your doorstep.