A Wide Area Network is a type of a computer network which covers a large area. By large area, it is meant that the area may expand beyond metropolitan, regional or even national boundaries.
Wide Network in very simple language, connects two or more Local Area Networks via devices, which are routers or function like routers. The users at many different locations of a Wide Area Network are connected to each other via one central server. This server can alone serve all the computers on a network.
All the computers in a Wide Network are connected to the central database management system of a server. With the help of this central database system, all the computers in the Wide Area Network save data at real time and then send input results to the central server to receive output results at that very moment.
There are four types of Wide-Area-Network connection options: leased-line connection, circuit-switching connection, packet-switching connection or cell-relay. The leased line is the most classic type of Wide Area Network, where there is a point-to-point connection between two computers. It is mostly used for small scale companies and colleges.
Circuit-switching is another type of Wide-Area-Network. In this type, a circuit is created between end-points and an example of this is a dial up connection. Another feature of Broad Network is packet-switching, where multiple sets of data are sent and received simultaneously.
With the help of Wide-Area-Network, common resources are used by one company. For example, if a person buys prescription drugs from one store in the UK, his entry is done in a computer and after that, he/she may buy that drug from any branch of that chain of pharmacies in the UK. Similar is the case of banks where people used to cash money previously only from their designated bank branches. However, now, they can cash their money from any branch of that bank with the help of online banking.
Wide-Area-Network has made life and communication very easy. Distances have been reduced to a great extent. Moreover, due to the VPN technology (which has been built on the basis of the principle of Wide Area Network), the employees can take their work home and can even store and share it online.
Having said this, it must also be known that Wide-Area-Networks have some negative aspects as well. Security is one of the major risks for people and companies using Wide-Area-Networks. Anyone can access your computer with the help of your IP. Moreover, installing Wide Area Networks in places such as institutions and business companies require money, resources and frequent maintenance services. To conclude, Wide Area Networks has brought revolution in our lives. It has helped the world to communicate faster and efficiently; and has also made the life of people in general, easy by providing online facilities which no one ever thought of 30 years back.