A wide-area network (WAN) is any telecommunications network or computer network that extends over a large geographical distance/place. Wide-area networks are often established with leased telecommunication circuits.
Business, education and government entities use wide-area networks to relay data to staff, students, clients, buyers, and suppliers from various locations across the world. In essence, this mode of telecommunication allows a business to effectively carry out its daily function regardless of location. The Internet may be considered a WAN.
Related terms for other types of networks are personal-area networks (PANs), local-area networks (LANs), campus-area networks (CANs), or metropolitan-area networks (MANs) which are usually limited to a room, building, campus or specific metropolitan area respectively.