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Wide area network (WAN) replacement is the process of upgrading or otherwise replacing a wide area network, which uses resources beyond a local Ethernet or wireless connection.
Companies and other parties pursue WAN replacement in order to improve the functionality or security of internal communications.
In general terms, WAN replacement simply means the replacement of an existing WAN solution for any reason. However, WAN replacement also refers to implementing virtual private networks (VPNs) for better security.
These virtual private networks may use elements of the Internet's infrastructure, but they will be constructed to provide unique trajectories and secure environments for data packets sent internally. Some describe a VPN as a secure tunnel for Internet communications.
One way to think of this is that the designated data path is closed off from more public Internet traffic. In addition to creating better security, WAN replacement can be used to deal with issues around bandwidth and the efficiency of communications. This is sometimes part of the focus, for example, in WAN replacement projects pursued by institutions such as schools and hospitals.
Being that the WAN typically connects remote locations, WAN replacement strategies will often apply to a range of buildings or properties.