What is a WAN? What is a LAN? And what’s the difference between them? If you have no idea about these questions, then you should read this post from MiniTool carefully. This post talks about WAN vs LAN from several aspects including speed.

The WAN and LAN are two types of networks. Before getting the information about WAN vs LAN, let’s know what WAN and LAN are.

What Is a WAN?

WAN is the abbreviation of wide area network, which is used to connect devices that are far apart. A WAN setup is much more complicated than a LAN, which is very common. WAN usually requires two or more LANs to be connected through the public Internet or a private connection established by a third-party telecommunications provider.

Most WANs are connected through public networks such as telephone systems or leased lines. The Internet that connects computers around the world is considered the largest WAN currently available.

What Is a LAN?

LAN is short for local area network, which allows computers and devices close to each other to be connected. Then they will be able to share files or complete tasks, which usually means they are using the same router or switch.

Related post: Router VS Switch: What Is the Difference Between Them?

Typically, this type of network will consist of everyday devices, which may include a variety of different business technologies. Examples include tablets, printers, and desktop computers. The network will usually have routers and switches as well as wireless cards or potential ethernet cables. Please note that the LAN is usually set in the home to facilitate home-sharing.

In a local area network, different cables can be used to physically connect different devices. However, it is more popular to use Wi-Fi to connect different technologies and ensure the establishment of a fully integrated network.

Related post: Meet Windows 10 WiFi Problems? Here Are Ways to Solve Them


After getting some basic information about WAN and LAN, this part focuses on WAN vs LAN.


When talking about LAN vs WAN, speed must be mentioned. Compared to WAN, it is easier to increase the speed level and reach a higher speed in a LAN network. This will rely on the hardware and cables used, but since you can physically connect the device, it is very fast. LAN devices can also be connected to the same router or switch, which does mean faster connections.

On the contrary, the WAN speed will be affected by various problems. You need to consider the equipment used, but it also depends on the equipment used by the network itself. Usually, you will not be able to control this, and due to the requirements of data transmission distance, the speed of WAN will become slower. Technology is constantly changing, and high-quality copper cables are used to accelerate WAN connections.


The security also needs to be compared when speaking of WAN vs LAN. Normally, it can be said that LAN is much safer than WAN. The reason is obvious. Due to the small size and scope of the LAN, things like problems or viruses are less likely to access the network.

On the contrary, WAN has higher interconnectivity and wider range. Therefore, there is always a greater chance of problems. This is why when using a WAN, it is important to have the correct settings to protect individual systems and the network itself.

What’s more, the local area network usually does not have congestion, and the wide area network is susceptible to more congestion.


The last aspect that needs to be mentioned when talking about WAN vs LAN is cost. Generally, you will find that the LAN setup and maintenance costs are lower. Again, it is due to the small geographic area of the system. You don't need to worry about leasing telecommunication lines.

On the contrary, for WAN networks, the lease of telecommunication lines is required, thereby increasing costs. For setup, you can use inexpensive software (such as VPN) to reduce costs, but this will not be as effective as a complete physical setup.

Bottom Line

To sum up, after reading this post, you should know the difference between LAN and WAN. And generally speaking, small companies will run on LAN systems, while large companies will need both.

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