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 wide area network A physical or logical network that provides data communications to a larger number of independent users than are usually served by a local area network (LAN) and is usually spread over a larger geographic area than that of a LAN. WANs may include physical networks, such as Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDNs), X.25 networks, and T1 networks. A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a WAN that serves all the users in a metropolitan area. WANs may be nationwide or worldwide.
 
  
 A material medium that confines and guides a propagating electromagnetic wave. In the microwave regime, a waveguide normally consists of a hollow metallic conductor, usually rectangular, elliptical, or circular in cross section. This type of waveguide may, under certain conditions, contain a solid or gaseous dielectric material.
 
  
 wavelength-division multiplexing In optical fiber communications, any technique by which two or more optical signals having different wavelengths may be simultaneously transmitted in the same direction over one fiber, and then be separated by wavelength at the distant end.
 
  
 World Wide Web An international, virtual-network-based information service composed of Internet host computers that provide on-line information in a specific hypertext format. WWW servers provide hypertext metalanguage (HTML) formatted documents using the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). Information on the WWW is accessed with a hypertext browser such as Mosaic, Viola, or Lynx. No hierarchy exists in the WWW, and the same information may be found by many different approaches.