Wide Area Networking

Wide Area Networks are built to provide communication solutions for organizations or people who need to exchange digital information between two distant places (in one country or in two different countries). Since the distance is long, the local telecommunication company is involved, in fact, WANs are usually maintained by the country’s public telecommunication companies.

Dedicated lines have the advantage of being private, but they are expensive, especially when many sites are to be connected. Cloud services provide a meshed network that readily allows connection from many different sites, at lower cost.

The most widely used connection lines are the T1, the basic unit of the telco T-carrier system. A T1 consists of 24 64 Kbps channels for a total capability of 1.544 Mbps. Each of the channels may be used as a separate data or voice channel, or channels may be combined for higher transmission rates. T3 lines are also available and are equivalent to 28 T1 lines or 44.736 Mbps.

For higher bandwidth applications, optical carriers are used. Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) was developed to connect long-distance carriers and to unify different standards. Data rates are defined in terms of Optical Carrier or OC levels. The first level is OC-1 with a rate of 51.84 Mbps, and the most widely used is OC-3 with a rate of 155.52 Mbps.

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