• Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

What is a WAN Router?

Alejandra Reynoso

ByAlejandra Reynoso

Oct 5, 2023

In the world of networking, understanding the purpose and function of devices like a WAN router is pivotal. WAN, standing for Wide Area Network, is a network that covers a broad area. A WAN router is a crucial component in this network that connects LANs (Local Area Networks) to WANs. It routes network traffic between different locations, often over large geographical distances, enabling communication and data transfer between these disparate locations.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding WAN Routers
  2. Key Features of WAN Routers
  3. The Role of WAN Routers in Networking
  4. FAQs

Key Takeaways

  • WAN routers play a critical role in networking by connecting LANs to WANs.
  • Key features of WAN routers include IP routing, QoS, security, and scalability.
  • WAN routers are essential for businesses operating at multiple locations.

Understanding WAN Routers

A WAN router, sometimes referred to as a gateway, is a device that directs traffic from your local network to the internet. It is the interface between the LAN and the WAN.

WAN routers are especially prevalent in businesses and organizations that have multiple locations across a city, country, or even globally. They allow these multiple networks to connect and communicate with each other, regardless of their geographical distance. A good example of a WAN is the internet itself, an enormous network linking computers and other devices worldwide.

Key Features of WAN Routers

The functionality of a WAN router is determined by several key features. These include:

  1. IP Routing: This is the primary function of a WAN router. It uses IP addresses to determine where to send packets of data.
  2. Quality of Service (QoS): WAN routers can prioritize certain types of traffic over others, ensuring that critical functions receive the bandwidth they need.
  3. Security: Many WAN routers include built-in firewalls and other security features to protect the network from threats.
  4. Scalability: As a business grows, its network needs will change. WAN routers can be scaled to accommodate this growth.

One of the biggest challenges when setting up a WAN router is its configuration, which often requires a deep understanding of network protocols and standards. However, once set up, a WAN router can significantly improve the efficiency and reliability of your network.

The Role of WAN Routers in Networking

WAN routers are the workhorses of the internet, quietly directing traffic to ensure that data packets reach their intended destinations. They are an essential part of any network, and understanding their role can help you troubleshoot network issues and optimize your network’s performance.

Without WAN routers, the internet as we know it would not exist. They make it possible to send an email from New York to Tokyo, stream a movie from a server in California, or access your company’s network from a coffee shop in London. Here’s an article that provides more details on how routers work.

In a corporate setting, WAN routers enable communication between different branches of a business, allowing them to share resources and collaborate more effectively. This guide can aid in choosing the right router for your needs.


1. What is the difference between a LAN and a WAN?

A LAN, or Local Area Network, is a network that connects devices in a small geographical area, like a home or office. A WAN, or Wide Area Network, covers a much larger area, such as a city, a country, or even the entire globe.

2. Can a home network be considered a WAN?

No, a home network is typically a LAN. However, your home network connects to the internet, which is a WAN.

3. How does a WAN router work?

A WAN router works by routing data packets between different networks. It uses IP addresses to determine where to send each packet.

4. What are the key features of a WAN router?

Key features of a WAN router include IP routing, Quality of Service (QoS), security, and scalability.

5. Can I set up a WAN router myself?

Yes, but it requires a good understanding of network protocols and standards. It may be better to hire a professional if you are not comfortable with this.

In conclusion, a WAN router is an integral part of any Wide Area Network. It helps to facilitate communication and data transfer between different geographical locations, making our modern, interconnected world possible. It is one of the many unsung heroes in the realm of networking technology. This blog post provides more insights on setting up a router.

Alejandra Reynoso

By Alejandra Reynoso

Alejandra Reynoso is a passionate writer with a gift for creating engaging and informative website articles. With a background in journalism and business with a flair for storytelling, she has mastered the art of captivating readers with her words. Alejandra's writing covers a diverse range of topics, from business and money to news and politics.