Types of WAN Links

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I've found this table that I created a while ago and it lists common WAN connections that businesses use. I have used this table like a reference guide to familiar myself into other protocols. People don't think of it much but the WAN is a different beast compared the LAN as it uses different protocols besides Ethernet. The WAN or wide area network is what connects us to remote locations within a organization. If we have an office in New York and another office in Wyoming  we need these offices to be connected to each other so that they seem to be on the same network even though they are miles away these types of WAN connections and protocols  would do it.





Sample Protocols

Leased Line

Point-to-point connection between two computers LANs

Most Secure



Circuit Switching

A dedicated circuit path is created between endpoints. Best example is dialup connections

Less expensive

Call Setup


Packet Switch

Devices transport packets via a shared single point-to-point or point-to-multipoint link across. Variable length packets are transmitted over PVCs or SVCs

Highly efficient use of bandwidth

Shared media across link

X.25, Frame Relay

Cell Relay

Similar to packet switching, but uses fixed-length packets. Data is divided into fixed length cells and then transported across virtual circuits

Best for simultaneous use of voice and data

Overhead can be considerable



Connectionless packet switching using the internet as the WAN infrastructure. Uses network addressing to deliver packets. Because of security issues VPN technology must be used.

Least expensive, globally available

Least secure

VPN, DSL, cable modem, wireless

I hope this table is helpful and like always if you have an idea of the next topic that deals with either ICND1 or ICND2 let me know about. If you have any questions about this table feel free to comment below.