WAN IP: what it is and what it means

WAN IP: what it is and what it means

Every device connected to the Internet is assigned a public IP address which allows it to be immediately reachable from any other remote host. WAN IP is the abbreviation of “Wide Area Network IP” and is a term used to refer to the address attributed to the device on a wider network than the local one, such as the Internet.

It is theIP address used to identify a device when communicating over the Internet or an extended network beyond the private local area network (LAN) of an organization or individual user. The IP address is usually unique (we’ll talk about the increasingly common exceptions later) and is assigned statically or dynamically by the telecommunications operator (provider).

In case the WAN IP is static means that the IP address does not change over time; if, however, the IP is assigned dynamically, every time the user connects to the Internet, the address assigned to his device could change.

What is a WAN

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that spans a large geographic area, connecting offices, data centers, cloud applications and cloud storage spaces. By definition, the Internet is the best known and most used WAN. A WAN connects smaller networks such as LANs (Local Area Networks), allowing for example communication between distant company offices or between remote users and company resources. WANs can be publiccome Internet, o privatecreated by some companies for specific purposes.

The WAN architecture is based on OSI model (Open Systems Interconnection), which conceptually standardizes computer networks into seven levels, from the physical one which represents the transmission medium (for example optical fibre, copper connections, those made wirelessly) on which the data travels in the form of bits until arriving at the application layerthe one placed highest in the “stack”.

WANs can operate on dedicated private channels or in hybrid scenarios, with parts of the network using public channels such as the Internet.

The case of SD-WANs

SD-WAN stands for “Software-Defined Wide Area Network“: it is a network technology that allows you to manage and optimize network connections across geographically distributed areas. Traditional WAN networks are usually based on hardware devices such as router e switch which require manual configurations and management on an individual basis.

In the case of SD-WANs, however, network management is based on software which centralizes the network control and decisions regarding traffic routing. SD-WANs can reduce network management and operational costs by eliminating reliance on proprietary hardware devices and simplifying network management operations.

SD-WANs are useful in the company because they allow you to create networks distributed on a geographical basis by connecting multiple networks (for example different branches) as if they formed a single network.

How many WAN IP addresses can you have and use

In typical scenarios, the routers we use in private and professional settings integrate a single WAN port. It allows you to connect to a larger network, such as the Internet: the operation can take place through different means: a DSL line, an Ethernet cable, a satellite connection, a wireless connection or a cellular connection.

WAN ports on network devices often support several communication protocolssuch as PPPoE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) or static IP, depending on the specific needs of the Internet connection or WAN in question.

Multiple physical WAN ports

There are dual WAN routers that integrate two WAN ports or enterprise-level devices that integrate an even greater number. Those who use devices equipped with multiple WAN ports can for example set up mechanisms fallback: If one connection fails, the router will transfer data in both directions using the other.

With multiple WAN ports, you can also enable WAN bonding and load balancing mechanisms. The WAN bonding allows you to combine multiple network connections into a single virtual connection. The advantage is that it can be done this way increase bandwidth overall and improve the reliability of the connection.

Network traffic is distributed among the different connections based on the available capacity and the characteristics of each of them. This is a method that helps increase overall bandwidth and can improve fault tolerance.

Il load balancingor load balancing, is a technique that distributes network traffic equally across multiple connections in order to maximize the use of network resources and improve overall performance.

Assignment of public IP addresses on each WAN

Each connection with the WAN network is assigned an IP address: even, despite having only one physical WAN port, it is possible to use the PPPoE passthrough technique to enable multiple interfaces exposed on the Internet, each of them with its own Public IP.

Each WAN port is aphysical interface o logic present on a network device that allows connection to an external network, such as the Internet or another WAN.

In most cases, using one of the many online services that allow you to check the public IP address assigned to your router, you will see the WAN IP appear, i.e. the IP assigned by the telecommunications provider on the WAN interface.

In the event that devices “multi WAN“, different public IP addresses will be read depending on the WAN connection used from time to time (for example following the activation of fallback, WAN bonding o load balancing).

Techniques such as CGNAT and MAP-T and WAN IP

The public IPv4 addresses are now finished: they are written as a string of 32-bit digits and are made up of four numbers, each between 0 and 255, separated by dots. The address corresponds to the Google DNS server, is an example of an IPv4 address.

Especially the providers who entered the telecommunications market more recently, who therefore did not ask for the use of large address blocks IPv4, they remained dry. Therefore they make extensive use of techniques such as CGNAT and MAP-T which allow the telecommunications operator to group multiple user-customers under the same public IP address.

CGNAT It allows you to share a single public IP address between multiple customers or devices within the provider’s WAN network: if there is a shortage of IPv4, it is the best way – on the provider side – to resolve.

Furthermore, since most of the most recent providers on the market use IPv6, MAP-T provides for the sharing of IPv4 addresses on IPv6 networks. Any subscriber devices that are incompatible with IPv6 can use IPv4 packets through a “translation” process that is carried out automatically and transparently.

In summary, CGNAT and MAP-T are techniques used in WAN management to address issues such as the shortage of public IPv4 addresses and the transition to IPv6, ensuring continued connectivity and support for Internet communications.

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