Wide-area networks are networks that span across a large area. They can stretch for miles and miles, or, in the case of the Internet, across the globe! Generally, a wide-area network consists of many local-area networks connected to each other by devices like routers and bridges. Bridges and routers look at the information they are given, and then transfer them to another LAN, until the data reaches its destination. Routers can even look at information and then determine the route that will deliver the data the most quickly and the most efficiently.
The most common wide-area network is the: