WANs interconnect LANs, which then provide access to computers or file servers in other locations. Because WANs connect user networks over a large geographical area, they make it possible for businesses to communicate across great distances. WANs allow computers, printers, and other devices on a LAN to be shared with distant locations. WANs provide instant communications across large geographic areas.
 
    Collaboration software provides access to real-time information and resources and allows meetings to be held remotely. WANs have created a new class of workers called telecommuters. These people never have to leave their homes to go to work.
 
    WANs are designed to do the following:
  • Operate over a large and geographically separated area
  • Allow users to have real-time communication capabilities with other users
  • Provide full-time remote resources connected to local services
  • Provide e-mail, Internet, file transfer, and e-commerce services
    Some common WAN technologies include the following:
  • Modems
  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
  • Digital subscriber line (DSL)
  • Frame Relay
  • T1, E1, T3, and E3
  • Synchronous Optical Network (SONET)