Sunday, August 21, 2011

What is a Wide Area Network?

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a network that spans a large geographical area, the most common example being the Internet the largest known WAN today. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more Local Area Networks (LANs) connected by a communication sub-system, which usually comprised of Autonomous System (AS) routers.

Special software protocols have been created to support routing within communication sub-system of a WAN. These protocols operate with ‘smart’ algorithms that can adapt the flow of network traffic when problems occur. Protocols such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) are widely used across the Internet today and this is the primary protocol used on the Air-Stream Wireless network.

The algorithms employed by this protocol provide great network stability ensuring that if one network connection is lost, the router can quickly adapt to send data through an alternate network path. Consequently, the greater the number of network connections that are available, the greater the reliability and bandwidth for its users.

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