The term Wide Area Network (WAN) is used to describe a computer network spanning a regional, national or global area. For example, for a large company the head quarters might be at Delhi and regional branches at Bombay, Madras, Bangalore and Calcutta. Here regional centers are connected to head quarters through WAN. The distance between computers connected to WAN is larger. Therefore the transmission medium used are normally telephone lines, microwaves and satellite links.
Characteristics of WAN
Followings are the major characteristics of WAN.
1.Communication Facility: For a big company spanning over different parts of the country the employees can save long distance phone calls and it overcomes the time lag in overseas communications. Computer conferencing is another use of WAN where users communicate with each other through their computer system.
2.Remote Data Entry: Remote data entry is possible in WAN. It means sitting at any location you can enter data, update data and query other information of any computer attached to the WAN but located in other cities. For example, suppose you are sitting at Madras and want to see some data of a computer located at Delhi, you can do it through WAN.
3.Centralised Information: In modern computerised environment you will find that big organisations go for centralised data storage. This means if the organisation is spread over many cities, they keep their important business data in a single place. As the data are generated at different sites, WAN permits collection of this data from different sites and save at a single site.
Examples of WAN
1.Ethernet: Ethernet developed by Xerox Corporation is a famous example of WAN. This network uses coaxial cables for data transmission. Special integrated circuit chips called controllers are used to connect equipment to the cable.
2.Aparnet: The Aparnet is another example of WAN. It was developed at Advanced Research Projects Agency of U. S. Department. This Network connects more than 40 universities and institutions throughout USA and Europe.