There have been some impressive innovations with WAN technology over the past number of years. If we look at some specifics, it will give us a greater overview of the level of technological advancements and the pace at which the technology had advanced. For example, lets look at Point to Point links. These P2P links allow the WAN to always be communicating with the devices and utilities that are based on the network itself. A good example of a point to point link would be a modem or router. When a router has data form a unit that is based off of the WAN, the hardware knows to make sure that the circuit is switched and the all the information about that remote unit is transmitted including the exact number of the remote unit to be placed on the network. This process used to take a huge amount of time, including receiving all the information to and from the unit from the WAN. This now takes a matter of seconds and as a matter of fact, most units are never disconnected from the WAN ensuring that the connection to a remote unit can happen in a matter of seconds. A good example of a remote unit is a PC or tablet that you maybe using in your home.
In the past when the most common type of hardware that was used was ISDN (Inter Serial Data Network) circuits, the device will make a physical call to the telephone number of the remote circuit. You may recall this when you were dealing with a home PC trying to dial up to the internet. The difference in hardware technology is obvious and the advantages are massive. The improvement of P2P switches means that data can be free flowing and move quicker between remote units and the Network better than ever before. All this means that data can be transferred so quickly that it allows data to be “streamed” (meaning it doesn’t stop flowing) from one source on the WAN such as a data storage house, to a remote unit such as your PC or TV to let you stream data directly to it quicker than ever before. Also a cloud network for businesses are available as well. Obviously, over the last few years the cost of these devices has come down and the technology had advanced, impressively it is one of the few areas in technology where as things have improved, the cost of owning it has also improved.