Wide Area and Metropolitan Area Networks

Lynn A. DeNoia, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


History and Context



Functional Requirements

Evolution and Coexistence

Facilities and Infrastructure

Digital Transmission

Optical Fiber Systems

Access Technologies


Differences around the World

Switching, Routing, and Signaling

Network Architecture

Switching Technologies

Routing Technologies

Signaling and Interworking

Providers and Services

Carriers and Service Providers

Class of Service, Quality of Service

Virtual Private Networks

Management and Security



Cross References

Further Reading


In today's social, political, and economic environment, individuals and organizations communicate and operate over ever-increasing geographic distances. This means that access to and sharing of information and resources must extend beyond the “local” office, building, or campus out across cities, states, regions, nations, continents, and even beyond the planet. Bridging this diversity of distances in ways that satisfy application requirements for speed, capacity, quality, timeliness, and so on at reasonable cost is no simple task from either a technical or a business perspective. Additionally, increasing use of shared, public resources such as the Internet raises levels of concern over security. In this chapter we concentrate on the main elements required to meet such challenges in wide area and metropolitan area networks.


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