WAN vs LAN on a Router

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated August 10, 2022

So, just what is WAN vs LAN on a router? If you’re shopping for a premium router, you need to understand how your cable modem and the more comprehensive network interact to give you an internet connection.


  • The WAN port connects your router to your internet service. Still, you should not plug computers or laptops directly into the WAN jack.
  • The LAN port connects devices to your local network and allows them to communicate.
  • Both ports are necessary to connect your home and devices to the internet.

Your computer network encompasses all of your home or office devices that have an active internet connection. This local network, or LAN, consists of video game systems, computers, and everyday devices like smart appliances that utilize wireless connections for internet access, while WAN lets them connect to the web.

Read on, and we can illustrate what the WAN and LAN ports mean on your modern router for Verizon Fios. Additionally, make sure you need a home router or a business router, and a router vs switch, depending on your needs.

Comparing WAN Port Vs LAN Port on a Router

Before learning the difference between the network ports on your router setup, you should understand what they do. Unlike comparing AC vs. N wireless routers, WAN and LAN ports often work together to provide your home or office network with internet access. Both ports need an ethernet cable for a wired connection, but they treat internet traffic differently. Make sure you know the difference between router speed and internet speed, they’re two different things.

Insider Tip

Security should be a paramount concern for your business network. Ensure you purchase a wireless router with an additional encryption key to access the Wi-Fi client.

LAN stands for local area network, and it encompasses everything on your private network. It lets all of your connected devices communicate with each other. While you can use a LAN port on a broadband modem or router to connect to the internet, you can have a local communication channel for your network without an internet source.

WAN stands for wide area network, and it gives you access to the external network and internet at large. Usually, this is the port you connect your router or network card to if you want public internet access. Lastly, some organizations use WAN to connect private networks across geographic spaces.

Maximum Speed

Like comparing wireless G and N network routers, one networking tool is much faster. Under empirical speed tests, your WAN port only sees about 10% of the theoretical 1000Mbps that your router’s LAN ports are capable of. If you want your wired network device to have the fastest speeds possible, use the LAN port on your router.

Personal Network Security

Between LAN and WAN router ports, only LAN offers an advanced encryption standard and administrative authentication methods. Since LAN only interacts with your private network, it is much more secure than connecting your network over WAN.

Wider Network

With the WAN internet port, you can connect to your internet service provider and the external network. While you need the router’s LAN port to connect wired devices to your local network, you cannot connect to the internet without the WAN port.


If you run a larger network that covers far-flung offices, invest in an advanced network hub. Without extending the private network, you’ll experience a weak Wi-Fi signal at the edges of the range.


What is the use of router firmware?

Router firmware manages your router protocols, and provides data security, and access to administrative controls. Without firmware, your router would not function very well, if at all.

What should be plugged into my router?

Other than the power cord and the WAN port, nothing else needs to plug into your physical ports. That said, you’ll need to connect devices to your LAN ports if you want to use the internet over ethernet.

Which Ethernet port is fastest on a router?

Unless you have a specialized wireless router, you can plug a network cable into any of the ethernet ports on the router.

STAT: According to a 2018 survey from the US Census Bureau, 92% of American households have some type of computer. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image