Difference between LAN and WAN in Wireless Routers

Difference between LAN and WAN in Wireless Routers

If you are a wireless router user, you would have come across terms such as LAN and WAN. At times WLAN may also have come across your daily computer use. If you want to know the difference between LAN and WAN in wireless routers, let us look at the following information.

What is LAN?

LAN stands for Local Area Network. It includes all computers, smartphones, tablets, etc., connected in the same location. The wireless LAN has a radius of about a hundred feet. This distance can be extended by adding extra wireless access points to the network, such as a Wi-Fi router, switch, or hub. In most cases, it can connect about 250 networking devices to a home or small business router.  

A LAN does not need a server. It is a simple setup of 2 or more computers linked together for sharing files or software. There are two primary speed standards for LAN ports. These include Ethernet that caps at 100Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet that caps at 1Gbps. In reality, the average speed of an Ethernet connection is about 8 Mbps, and the Gigabit Ethernet connection clocks between 45 and 90MBps.

A LAN port on the router allows Ethernet-ready devices to connect and share data. One requires a WAN port for these devices to get connected to the Internet. On some routers, a WAN port is named an Internet port.

What is WAN?

WAN is short for Wide Area Network. It is a network that covers any sizeable geographic area. This includes any city, state, country, or even the world. The Internet can be considered a type of WAN as it covers the globe. 

If you look at your router, you will find the WAN port is separated from the LAN port. It is usually marked with a different colored port. The WAN port helps connect one to an Internet source like the broadband modem. Thus, it allows the router to connect to the Internet and share it with all the other Ethernet-ready devices.

In simple terms, a WAN is a computer network that covers a broad geographic area over a long distance. However, the speed of a WAN is less than a LAN, about 150 Mbps. A WAN uses MPLS, ATM, X.25, or Frame Relay for connection over long distances. 

Devices that are connected with WAN are often associated with the help of the telephone system. Leased lines or satellites can also help secure a WAN. A WAN is owned and controlled under collective or distributed ownership and management.


From the above information related to the difference between LAN and WAN connection in wireless routers, you must have understood that LAN consists of less congestion and WAN includes more congestion. LAN covers a small area, so it is easier to maintain at a low cost. On the other hand, WAN maintenance is costly and complex. Setting up a WAN in remote areas is costlier. 

A wireless router helps you share the Internet and protects you from others stealing your network. A router uses the IP address provided by the ISP and serves as the mediator between the LAN and the Internet. This was all about the difference between LAN and WAN. The next time your tech guy tells you to connect your WAN cable to the port on the router, you will know which port to go for.


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