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  • A WAN connects a number of computers that are further apart.   
  • A WAN, on the other hand, covers a very large area, such as a whole country or even a continent. The signal propagation times can therefore be very long. As a rule, the network is open. New subscribers are constantly connected or existing subscribers are logged off. For the use of the network the participants have to pay fees.
  • A public network is characterised by the fact that anyone who fulfils the technical requirements for a network connection and pays the fees may also use it. The operation of such a network therefore requires a clear regulation of the technical and legal issues. Standards ensure that the generally very heterogeneous terminals from different manufacturers work together with the network.
  • For example, two or more computers connected at opposite ends of the earth are considered as WANs. A WAN can consist of a number of interconnected LANs. For example, the Internet is also a WAN.