LAN vs WAN Port: Their Uses, Differences & Benefits 

LAN vs WAN Port

If you ever noticed your router, you will see several ports in different colors and illustrations. These are LAN and WAN ports.

LAN stands for local area network while WAN stands for wide area network. Both have different scopes. LAN is limited to a small geographical area while WAN connects a large area i.e., the globe.  

Now, what’s the difference between LAN and WAN ports? Here we will discuss the contrast and uses of LAN and WAN ports in simple means.  

LAN vs WAN Port

Features    LAN PortWAN Port
DefinitionA LAN port connects the devices to the router. A WAN port connects the devices to an external source like the internet. 
Full formLocal Area NetworkWide Area Network
NumberUsually, 4 LAN ports in a modem are usedCommonly, there is only one WAN port
RangeLAN connects within a limited geographical area like a house, office, or building WAN connects to a wide geographical area like a city, country, or continent. 
ColorThe LAN port is usually yellow.The WAN port is usually blue or black.
SecurityMore secureLess secure
Speed150 Mbps1000 Mbps
CostLess expensiveMore expensive
EfficiencyMore efficient due to more bandwidthLess efficient due to less bandwidth. 
UseLAN is used to connect within the network.WAN is used to connect to the outside world. 

What is LAN? 

What is LAN

A local Area Network (LAN) consists of a series of devices connected within a limited area like a house, school, office, or other buildings.

A LAN network is needed to connect your devices like computers, smartphones, and watches to the router. The devices are also connected for communication up to short distances.  

If you view your modem, you will see several ports. The LAN ports will be in a different color than WAN. They are usually labeled as LAN1, LAN2, LAN3, and LAN4.  

In most modems, there are up to 4 LAN ports that can cover a distance of a few kilometers. However, some expensive modems with more than 4 LAN ports are also available for bigger organizations. They have a maximum of 8 LAN ports.  

Evolution of LAN 

The LAN was developed in the 1970s to provide high connections within devices for research works. Many experimental and little-rhymed LAN technologies were developed.

But the invention of Ethernet by Xerox PARC was a giant step. It changed everything. Now LAN is used in every house, store, office, and business. In short, every building.  

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What is WAN Port?  

What is WAN Port  

A wide Area Network (WAN) port is connected to an external source, typically the internet over a large geographical area. Your devices can now access the internet after connecting to WAN.

The WAN port on your router connects to the Internet Service Provider (ISP). It covers the city, country, continent, or even the entire globe. The internet itself is also WAN.  

There is usually one WAN port on your router. It is distinguished clearly from the LAN port in color. It is usually labeled as WAN, DSL, or Internet.  

Evolution of WAN 

The WAN was first developed in the 1950s by the U.S. Air Force. It was done to interconnect sites in the SAGE radar system.

It was used in telecommunication lines and internet linking services. The WAN has now advanced a lot from long bulky cables to a wireless network.  

How to Use a LAN Port?  

Using a LAN port is easier than you think! To use a LAN network, you have to insert one end of your Ethernet cable in the LAN port of your modem or server.

Now insert the other end to the device you want to connect like a computer or anything which has a LAN port.  

Here you go. You have successfully operated the LAN port.  

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How to Use a WAN Port?  

For using the WAN port, you have to connect your modem to the wireless network WAN port. It is done to connect your router with Internet Service Provider (ISP). It connects your device to the internet services.  

Most companies also connect the data between their two branches at different geographical locations by WAN network. They use VPN services to ensure the safety of their information and for cybersecurity.  

Benefits of LAN  

Today the extensive use of LAN networks in almost every building is due to its numerous advantages. Some of the benefits of LAN are listed below:  

  • Allows resource sharing within devices.  
  • Easy internet access 
  • Convenient and fast communication 
  • Data protection 
  • Inexpensive medium of data transmission 
  • Higher rate of data transmission than WAN  

Benefits of WAN  

The internet which has overtaken the globe is an application of WAN. Consequently, the various benefits of the WAN network are the following:  

  • Large range of transmission 
  • Highly efficient 
  • Information security 
  • Supports the global infrastructure 
  • Can send messages quickly to any part of the world 
  • Ease in communication 

Types of LAN  

Types of LAN

Primarily, there are two types of LAN: wired and wireless. A wired LAN is found productive for a small business or any site with only a handful of devices.

Whereas, wireless LAN (WLAN) is commonly used in places with extensive devices and excessive software.  

Descriptively, there are many types of LAN networks as follows:  

  • Peer-to-peer LAN 
  • Token bus LAN 
  • Cloud managed LAN 
  • Public Internet  
  • Mobile-end user LAN  
  • Token ring LAN 
  • Ethernet 

Difference Between LAN and WAN? Conclusion 

LAN and WAN both are entirely different from each other. LAN covers a small distance of up to a kilometer while WAN covers a large distance of up to many kilometers. LAN and WAN both differ in their uses and scope.  

However, both are extensively used in the modern age of the internet and technology. Both WAN and LAN have evolved into wireless efficient systems. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is LAN faster than WAN?

Yes, LAN is faster than WAN. It is because the signals have to be only transferred within a building. While in the case of WAN, the data is shared over large distances. Since WAN has to cover cities and even countries, it is much slower.  

Do all routers have WAN and LAN ports?  

Yes, all routers have at least one WAN and four LAN ports.  

Is a LAN port better than a WAN port?  

It depends upon the purpose you want. The LAN port is much cheaper and faster than the WAN port. It also offers more data security. But the LAN network cannot work over large distances. Thus, if you want to share data over a city or country, then it might not be suitable for you. 

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