How To Use A WAN? With Example

November 27, 2022
what is wan
SD-WAN is the most recent iteration of wide area networks, which connect smaller networks over long distances and have undergone significant changes in their design, protocols, and technology to get to this point.

No matter where they are, users want to always be able to access all of their applications on all of their devices. And they essentially can because of wide-area networks

A WAN is fundamentally a network of networks. The Internet is a massive WAN, and there are several ways to connect to it, including via an Ethernet connection, coaxial cable, or a cellular radio signal.

Your office network, home WiFi, smartphone, smartwatch, doorbell camera, and vehicle-based Internet connection are just a few examples of the endpoints on a vast global WAN that is continuously developing to carry more traffic and to carry that traffic faster as the demands for near-instantaneous access to resources rise.

What distinguishes a WAN from a LAN?

An area that is relatively small is designated as a local area network (LAN). LANs are often restricted to a single building or a small campus in the corporate environment. All the devices that end users need access to are linked by switches and routers in a LAN configuration. Your home’s Wi-Fi can be used as a LAN to connect various devices, such as laptops, desktop computers, printers, and smart home gadgets, to a central router.

An external connection is introduced to the router when your network needs access to resources that are not present on the LAN. Consequently, a WAN joins numerous networks together to exchange resources, while a LAN connects you to local resources on your network.]

The WAN connects various LANs in the case of a business with a corporate headquarters and numerous branch offices dispersed throughout the world. LANs commonly utilize Ethernet technology to link end users, but WANs may use a number of transport techniques.

A private WAN: What is it?

While WANs typically depend on physical connections provided by the major telecommunication carriers, LANs are typically maintained by an organization’s IT staff. WAN data may be sent in a variety of methods, each having advantages, disadvantages, and prices.
Leasing data lines is used to build a private WAN. For the purpose of maintaining a constant connection between the network endpoints, the service provider manages the network (possibly using multiple interconnects and vendors). Leased lines provide symmetric upload and download speeds that are constant. It is often the most costly choice since the service provider reserves unique infrastructure for a private WAN. You must prepare for redundancy because if there is damage at any point in the link, there will probably be a service interruption.

Describe a cloud WAN.

Organizations started switching to a cloud-based WAN architecture that takes use of a mesh of networks to offer highly redundant connection anywhere in the globe as workers relocated to distant locations and applications moved to the cloud.

For instance, Amazon provides AWS Cloud WAN, a managed service that customers can utilize to create and manage a global network that connects resources running across your on-premises and cloud environments, such as branch offices, data centers, and Amazon Virtual Private Clouds.

An MPLS WAN is what?

A single service provider, like Verizon or AT&T, manages an MPLS network from beginning to finish, employing an existing set of physical networks to build a virtual route across them. The TCP/IP protocol suite divides the data stream into smaller units, or packets, which are then sent separately and put back together at the network’s destination endpoints.

Each packet has a payload as well as an identification header with destination and reassembly details. At the destination, each packet is examined, and if it is valid, an acknowledgement is sent back to the sender. If verification is unsuccessful, a request is returned to the point of origin to be resent.

For quick network transit, data packets on an MPLS network are tagged and routed according to that pre-established routing. An MPLS cloud makes use of numerous physical networks and has the flexibility to switch routes to get the optimum bandwidth or get around obstacles. To enhance application performance, traffic can be shaped using Quality of Service (QoS) criteria, such as video and Voice over IP Telephony (VoIP). When compared to simply connecting to the internet, MPLS might be more costly, even if it is less expensive than leased lines in a Private WAN.

An internet-based WAN is what?

Organizations can also just connect directly to the internet through an ISP instead of paying more for a leased line or MPLS connection.

You have access to the significant number of network nodes that make up the biggest WAN ever established via a direct internet connection. The lack of a specialized authority to regulate the validity and dependability of the data flow across the internet is a drawback.

Each routing hop requires data packets to be checked for destination addresses, and they are then delivered using their best efforts. This is acceptable for many applications, such as emails, where there is no need for low latency between the sender and recipient, but it could provide a challenge for those that do.

Additionally, since the internet is a decentralized public network, there is a higher likelihood that data packets may transit via the servers of malicious individuals who want to steal or tamper with your data. As opposed to MPLS or leased lines, it is essential to encrypt all traffic.

The internet is the least expensive foundation upon which to construct your WAN since it is pervasive and easily accessible from several sources.

A managed cloud WAN: What is it?

The ability to set global network policies from a single policy control point, as well as a single management dashboard that enables organizations to keep an eye on WAN features like connectivity, routing, performance, access control, and applications, are all features of managed cloud WAN services that vendors are now providing. Organizations may link all on-premises facilities and branch offices via a managed cloud WAN.

A wireless WAN: What is it?

To connect with a network of radio towers known as cells, which serve as base stations to transform wireless data packets traveling across private or cloud WANs, a wireless WAN deploys cellular broadband radio devices. (Using a wireless transportation layer, it is also feasible to join numerous devices to achieve point-to-point communication.)

The countrywide coverage of the wireless network infrastructure is intended to accommodate millions of connections. The network automatically switches the connection to the next as the endpoint transceiver moves outside the coverage area of one cell, maintaining continuous connectivity. Due to the cellular network’s already-existing status, a wireless WAN may be set up fast and at a reasonable price.

This kind of WAN is often used to link Internet of Things (IoT) devices that gather and analyze data. In order to collect your payment and verify that you are authorized to occupy the space, for instance, the parking meter you pay is connected to a wireless WAN. With the introduction of more recent 5G technology, its increased bandwidth promises to enable crucial data transfers, including those utilized by self-driving vehicles.

What does the WAN architecture of the present look like?

Understanding the type of data you are working with on your WAN is crucial. If you are transferring very sensitive or low latency-dependent data, you will need to design something else.

There will be links from all the various transports to the center of the WAN, allowing traffic to be routed where it is most productive and economical. A private WAN should be an option if you need very fast, reliable connectivity.

An MPLS connection will provide a secure, redundant, and constant connection more affordably than with a leased Line for the majority of your traffic that needs dependable data delivery, such as content distribution, VoIP, or video conferencing. Assigning QoS settings will allow you to further shape your network traffic and guarantee that crucial services are given precedence.

To send your non-critical traffic to the cheapest route possible, add Internet connectivity. Additionally, tunneling brings up the possibility of enabling user connection from anywhere. The Virtual Private Network is the most popular kind of tunnel (VPN). Data traveling over open networks, such as the internet, is encrypted by VPN connections to keep it private.

In the case of service interruptions, you may also set up a point-to-point VPN connection to serve as a redundant link for leased lines as a cheap insurance policy. Although slower, the VPN is secured and will provide a temporary fix in an emergency.

An additional layer of security on top of the VPN will be a firewall that sits between the internet and your network and blocks any traffic that you haven’t explicitly allowed.

Endpoints requiring to connect via a cellular network, such as a smartphone accessing an application through a secure website or by first connecting to a VPN that grants access to resources like database servers or storage devices, will be the source of wireless connection into your WAN.

WAN management and improvement

As data packets move along fiberoptic cables, the speed of light restricts how quickly data can move across the WAN. The longer it takes for data to travel between endpoints, the further apart they are. While a few hundred milliseconds may not seem like much to us humans, they may take an eternity for current computer infrastructures.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while events seem to be occurring simultaneously on the network, data packets are really traveling through the wire in a sequential order. Performance issues can arise as more devices use the network and encounter issues like congestion and dropped packets.

WAN optimization technologies like deduplication (cutting redundant data transfer), compression (reducing the quantity of data), and caching help solve these issues (storing commonly used data closer to the endpoint).

By setting up QoS settings that give priority to network packets for time-sensitive applications like audio and video over less time-sensitive traffic like email, traffic shaping is a method that enhances performance in general.

Describe SD-WAN.

WAN administration requires a lot of work and takes a lot of time. To assist, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) uses software to monitor the performance of all available WAN connections and choose the fastest path for each kind of traffic.

For instance, packet delivery in the correct order is necessary for smooth video playback. Since placing this traffic on a congested network like the internet would cause packet delivery delays, SD-WAN would route this traffic through leased lines or MPLS.

Email may utilize the open Internet without suffering from a bad user experience if packets come later. The traffic is routed to the optimum path based on cost and performance parameters using SD-WAN software, which takes into consideration each kind of connection.

According to market research company DataVagyanik, SD-WAN technology is an essential part of any networking strategy, with a $3.25 billion market in 2021 that is projected to rise 30% in 2022.

Outlook for WANs

Since the earliest days of circuit-switched telephone lines and 2400 baud modems, WAN technology has advanced significantly. Leased lines, wireless, MPLS, and the public internet now enable you to oversee the operations of a self-driving car, conduct on-demand videoconferences from your phone to anybody in the globe, backup your data to another city, and work from wherever you can get a radio signal.

WANs are not just found on Earth. The International Space Station and ground stations will be able to send test communications thanks to the dependable “interplanetary internet” that NASA and other space organizations are building. The Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) initiative is the first step toward creating an internet-like framework for communications between space-based objects, including connecting between the Earth and Moon or other planets.