What is a WAN and a LAN?

A Local Area Network (LAN) and a Wide Area Network (WAN) are two types of networks that allow two or more devices to communicate with each other.

A WAN operates over a large geographical area, like a state or a country. The Internet is really a WAN, and it’s the largest WAN in the world.

A LAN connects devices in a smaller areas such as a house, an office, or groups of buildings. For instance, your computer, phone and tablet together create your personal network, or LAN, inside your home.

LAN and WAN ports

Most modern routers have at least two physical ports: a WAN port and a LAN port. The WAN port on your router is usually connected to a modem, which in turn links your router to the Internet.

The LAN ports are used to connect your router with your personal devices using an Ethernet cable. You might choose to connect your computer or TV if they don’t have Wi-Fi or if you prefer a physical connection for these devices.

You can find WAN and LAN ports on the back of your Nokia WiFi Beacons or Gateway.

Wireless LAN (WLAN)

In addition to the physical LAN port(s), you can also connect your devices via Wi-Fi to your home network. This is called the wireless LAN (WLAN).