WAN Defined

Wide-area networks (WANs) are communication networks that can span great distances to provide connectivity. They generally are offered by service providers or carriers. WANs typically carry data traffic, but many now support voice and video as well. Service providers charge fees for providing WAN services or communications to their customers. Sometimes the term "service" is referred to as the WAN communications provided by the carrier.

Figure 5-1 depicts the Enterprise Edge with campus backbone, Internet, and MPLS clouds.

When designing a WAN, you should become familiar with the design's requirements, which are typically derived from these two important goals:

■ Application availability—Networked applications rely on the network between the client and server to provide its functions to users.

■ Cost and usage—To select the correct reliable WAN service, you must consider the budget and usage requirements of the WAN service.

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