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A wide area network (WAN) is a network that exists over a large-scale geographical area. A WAN connects different smaller networks, including local area networks (LANs) and metro area networks (MANs). This ensures that computers and users in one location can communicate with computers and users in other locations. WAN implementation can be done either with the help of the public transmission system or a private network.
A WAN connects more than one LAN and is used for larger geographical areas. WANs are similar to a banking system, where hundreds of branches in different cities are connected with each other in order to share their official data.
A WAN works in a similar fashion to a LAN, just on a larger scale. Typically, TCP/IP is the protocol used for a WAN in combination with devices such as routers, switches, firewalls and modems.