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WAN Pros and Cons


The WAN connection is the proverbial bottleneck in any network. The Washington School District Wide Area Network uses three central sites for connectivity. This, compared to the LAN connection, is slower and easily prone to congestion as only a total of six serial links connect the central sites, which in turn service a total of 34 schools. In addition, only one central site has internet connectivity. However, such a system should be adequate considering that security and access control measures are implemented, and that workgroup servers are located locally.


Point-to-Point Protocol is used to connect to the schools and the central sites to each other. CHAP (and possible PAP) is the only security measure implememted by PPP, but as it is rather unlikely that very sensitive information will traverse a school district, this should be adequate. ACLs in the local school and central site routers provide additional security, however, it is recommended that dedicated firewalls be installed between the central site and the schools, as well as between the data center and the Internet.


Frame Relay is the only protocol used for internet connectivity. As most devices in this day and age are relatively fast and reliable, frame relay should be adequate to service the Washington School District Network requirements. It is recommended, however, that other protocols such as X.25 and ATM be studied if implementing them will improve network performance.