Now that you know the answer to the question, "What is a wide-area network?" it's important to note the differences between a WAN and a LAN. Given that WANs aren't bound by geography, a wide-area network example can include an entire country or continent. Mobile-area networks, such as 5G, also fall under this category. The geographical restriction—the primary differentiator between the two network categories—leads to additional differences.
Traditionally, data transfer rate and connectivity speed are slower when working with WAN, although these challenges have decreased as more nimble ways of working with a WAN, such as a software-defined wide-area network (SD WAN), have emerged.
Additionally, because a WAN covers a wider area with more connection nodes, the possibility of security breaches increases. WAN maintenance is also more complicated, as connections can be established through a variety of ways, and are often connected via public networks that can include undersea fiber optic cables and wireless communications. Because of the variety of access types and technologies, the complexity of managing a WAN can increase.