Definition of wide area network in English:

wide area network

(also WAN)


  • A computer network in which the computers connected may be far apart, generally having a radius of half a mile or more.

    Compare with local area network
    • ‘This is focused entirely on the business user in local area networks, wide area networks and multiserver environments.’
    • ‘The database may be accessed, for example, over a network such as a wide area network, to allow database records to be individually updated without affecting other records in the database.’
    • ‘VPNs commonly are used to connect local area networks into wide area networks using the Internet.’
    • ‘The FBI's Trilogy project - a plan to replace their Bureau's existing local and wide area networks - has been slammed by technology experts from the National Research Council.’
    • ‘The problem is that remote users can't access their files over low bandwidth, high-latency wide area networks (WANs).’


wide area network

/ˈˌwīd ˌerēə ˈnetˌwərk/