WAN vs LAN Port In Your Router: Explained


Most people think of their home network in terms of devices that are connected to the internet. Your computer, phone, and maybe a game console are all you need for a typical home network. But what if you want to add a printer, shared storage, or another device to your network? You might need more than one LAN port on your router.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between WAN and LAN ports and show you how to use them both.

What is WAN?

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a type of computer network that connects devices over a wide geographical area. WANs can be used to connect local networks (LANs) and metropolitan area networks (MANs). A WAN typically uses high-speed data links such as leased lines or broadband connections. WANs are often used to connect corporate LANs or other types of private networks. Public WANs include the Internet and telecommunications networks. A WAN can be built using different topologies, protocols, and media. The most common type of WAN is the point-to-point network, which uses two devices connected by a single data link. Other types of WANs include point-to-multipoint networks, mesh networks, and star networks.

Pros and cons of WAN

There are several advantages to using a WAN.

  • First, it allows organisations to connect their employees who are located in different parts of the world. This can be extremely useful for companies with remote workers or international customers.
  • Second, a WAN can provide greater security for an organisation’s data as it is spread across multiple locations. This reduces the risk of data loss if one location is compromised.
  • Finally, a WAN can improve an organisation’s disaster recovery capabilities as data can be backed up at multiple locations.

There are also some disadvantages to using a WAN.

  • First, it can be expensive to set up and maintain as it requires specialised hardware and software.
  • Second, it can be complex to manage as there are typically many different permissions and authentication levels that need to be maintained.
  • Finally, the speed of a WAN can often be slower than that of a LAN due to the increased distance that data needs to travel.

What is LAN?

A LAN, or Local Area Network, is a group of computers and networking devices that are connected together and share a common communication line or wireless link. Typically, a LAN covers a small geographic area, such as a home, office, or building. A LAN can be small, with only two computers connected together. Alternatively, a LARGE network can span an entire campus or city. The key characteristic of a LAN is that it tends to be high-speed and relatively inexpensive. For example, Ethernet is a popular type of LAN technology that can provide data transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. In contrast, WANs (Wide Area Networks) often span large geographic areas and use slower technologies such as dial-up or DSL.

Pros and cons of LAN

Local Area Networks (LANs) connect computers and devices in a limited geographic area such as a home, office, or building.

  • A benefit of LANs is that they allow for greater control over security. For example, it is easier to prevent unauthorized access to a LAN than it is to prevent unauthorized access to a Wide Area Network (WAN).
  • In addition, LANs are typically more reliable than WANs.

LANs can be less flexible than WANs, making it difficult to add new users or devices.

WAN vs LAN: How are they different?

The difference between a WAN and LAN connection is primarily in the scope of the network. A WAN, or Wide Area Network, encompasses a large geographical area, often spanning multiple cities or even countries. In contrast, a LAN, or Local Area Network, is typically limited to a single building or site. As a result, WANs tend to be much slower than LANs, due to the increased distance that data must travel. In addition, WANs are also more expensive to set up and maintain, as they require specialized equipment and infrastructure. However, the increased reach of a WAN can be essential for businesses with multiple locations or for connecting distant friends and family. Accordingly, the choice of which type of network to use will depend on the specific needs of the user.

What is the WAN port in your router?

The WAN (wide area network) port is used to connect your router to the internet. This could be a connection to a DSL or cable modem, T1 line, or another type of internet service. The WAN port is typically labeled with a symbol that looks like an upside-down triangle. In many routers, the WAN port is also a different color than the LAN (local area network) ports.

What is the LAN port in your router?

By contrast, the LAN ports are used to connect your router to devices on your local network, such as computers, printers, and switches. Most routers have four LAN ports, although some higher-end models have more. The LAN ports are typically labeled with the standard Ethernet symbol (a circle with two intersecting lines). There is usually no limit on the number of devices that can be connected to the LAN ports on your router.

WAN port vs LAN port: How are they different?

The WAN (wide area network) port is used to connect your router to the internet and the LAN port is used to connect your modem/router to a device in your network.

WAN vs LAN Port: Bandwidth

WAN ports have much higher bandwidth than LAN ports, which means they can handle more data traffic. This is why WAN ports are typically used for connecting to the internet, while LAN ports are used for connecting to local networks.

WAN vs LAN Port: Security

Another difference between the two ports is that WAN ports usually have higher security than LAN ports. This is because WAN ports are typically used for accessing public networks, while LAN ports are used for accessing private networks.

WAN vs LAN Port: Color

One way to distinguish between the two types of ports is by their color. WAN ports are typically blue, while LAN ports are usually yellow or white. While the color of the port can be helpful in identifying its purpose, it is not always reliable. In some cases, the colors may be reversed or different altogether. As a result, it is always best to consult your user manual or ask an internet technician before making any assumptions about the purpose of a particular port.

What do you need to know before buying a router?

LAN ports are used to connect your router to devices like computers, printers, and NAS drives.

Most routers have four LAN ports, but more expensive models may have eight or more. If you’re only using your router to connect to the internet and don’t need to connect any devices to it, then you don’t need to worry about the LAN ports. However, if you do plan on connecting devices to your router, make sure that it has enough LAN ports to accommodate them.

So, which one should you get? If you only need internet access for one device, then a router with just a WAN port will suffice. However, if you have multiple devices that need to be connected to the internet – or if you want to create a home network – then you’ll need a router with both WAN and LAN ports.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...