Wide Area Network (WAN) Examples for Multisite Business Deployments

May 7, 2024

Wide Area Networks (WANs) are ideal for connecting multisite business locations to each other and to data centers or cloud-based infrastructure and applications. Learn more about the benefits of WANs for multilocation businesses in this blog.

Wide Area Network Overview


A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that connects devices, servers and data centers across geographically distributed locations. WANs are typically composed of several smaller, segmented networks, such as Local Area Networks (LANs) and Metro Area Networks (MANs). Additionally, WANs leverage multiple communications channels to transfer data, including telephone lines, satellite connections and fiber-optic cables, depending on the WAN type.

Benefits of WAN Services


WAN services offer many benefits for businesses that must communicate and share data across vast geographies. Consider the following:

  • Extended Network Reach ­– WANs enable data to be transferred between business premises that are physically far apart — across town or across the globe—to streamline communications and operational processes.
  • Centralized Network Management – WANs centralize data management in one location, simplifying core network functions like data storage, backup and hosting internal applications.
  • Easy Scalability – WANs allow businesses to quickly set up new network sites and handle increased network traffic, easing expansion to new locations.
  • Reduced Costs – WANs enable distributed networks to share resources, including software, data and connected devices. Additionally, WANs eliminate the costs associated with physically moving data between locations.
  • Business Continuity – When WANs are supported by multiple redundant connectivity options, network traffic can automatically failover to available connections in the case of service outage or hardware failure.

Does WAN Benefit Multisite Businesses Only?


Though multisite businesses are the clear beneficiaries of WAN technology, businesses with only one physical location can still benefit from a WAN. WANs can improve a single-site business’ connections with other organizations, including customers, partners and suppliers. Additionally, WANs are critical in enabling remote or hybrid work, allowing employees to access necessary applications and communications regardless of location.

In many cases, however, LANs are sufficient for single-site business operations. Organizations must assess their network needs to determine if they should deploy WAN vs LAN or other types of WAN.

How Does WAN Work in Multisite Business Deployments?


WANs support distributed connectivity by leveraging several functions and WAN technologies:

  • Packet Switching –WANs transmit data between network nodes using packet switching. Packet switching segments data into several parts, called “packets,” that are transferred independently and reassembled at their destination.
  • Routers – Network routers are devices used to connect separate LANs into a single WAN, intelligently routing data packets to their correct destinations.
  • Switches – Network switches connect and transmit data packets between multiple computers and devices within a single LAN network.
  • WAN Protocols – WANs employ several protocols to process data and connect network devices. Here are the most common:
    • Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is an antiquated network switching technique that uses asynchronous time-division multiplexing to encode data packets into small, uniform cells for transmission across networks.
    • Frame Relay is a protocol that breaks data packets into “frames” for transfer across WANs. Frame Relay has been largely replaced by newer technologies but can deliver cheap data transmission for businesses on a tight budget, depending on the types of WAN connections.
    • Packet over SONET/SDH (PoS) is a protocol that defines how data packets are transmitted over point-to-point links that use fiber-optic connections and SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) or SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) protocols.
    • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a protocol that directs data packets based on predefined labels that denote established network paths. MPLS can leverage many network protocols like Ethernet and IP to achieve efficient and effective data routing.
    • Carrier Ethernet extends Ethernet from the LAN to the WAN so businesses can connect their Ethernet LANs to carrier networks via and Ethernet interface. In effect, Carrier Ethernet bridges LANs together as if they were one unified network.
    • Internet Protocol (IP) communicates guidelines about how data packets should be sent between network devices connected to the internet or other networks through IP addresses that identify critical device information.

What is SD WAN?


Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a network management solution that uses Software-Defined Networking (SDN) principles to simplify WAN architectures, route data and centralize network management. SD-WAN services create a virtual overlay on physical WAN infrastructure, making it easy for IT teams to control and manage network configurations. Additionally, SD-WAN leverages multiple connectivity options like MPLS and broadband to route data intelligently and optimize performance and costs. SD-WAN is particularly beneficial for supporting enterprise WAN networks.


Multisite Deployments of Wide Area Network Examples


WAN network technologies cater to a wide range of multisite deployments. Some of the most common include:

Bank Branches & ATMs – WANs connect bank branches to data centers to enable real-time transactions, easy access to customer information, secure communications and comprehensive data analytics. Additionally, WANs connect ATMs to bank networks to support real-time customer withdrawals, deposits and balance inquiries and remote management of ATM devices.

Healthcare Practices – WANs connect hospitals and clinics to share patient information, process medical data and facilitate collaboration across facilities. Additionally, WANs are a critical component of telemedicine solutions, enabling remote consultations and medical diagnostics.

Retail Chains – WANs connect Point of Sale (PoS) systems to centralized inventory and financial systems, delivering real-time inventory management and sales tracking. Additionally, WANs connect retail chains to suppliers and distribution centers to facilitate supply chain management.

Educational Institutions – WANs connect students and teachers to campus data, allowing access to educational resources, real-time collaboration and administrative oversight. Recently, WANs have been effective at enabling online courses to deliver distance learning and virtual classrooms.

Government Services – WANs connect government agencies and institutions to improve civilian access to government information and services. Additionally, emergency services use WANs to share vital information and coordinate during emergency situations.

Ready to learn how a WAN solution can support your business operations?


APX Net private WAN services offer cost-effective, high-speed connectivity, communications and computing at scale. Ask us about setting up a new WAN network today!


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