You must have come across the terms “WWAN” & “WLAN” on your home router. But do you know what it is or what it does?

On a basic level, both WWAN and WLAN allow you to connect to the internet wirelessly. However, they use different technology to do it. While WWAN is a mobile broadband option covering a wide area, WLAN is meant for local use.

To understand the difference between WWAN and WLAN, you should read the post below. We have included all the details you need to know about the two network components.


The Function of WWAN

WWAN is short for Wireless Wide Area Network. It refers to a type of network connection that works with mobile broadband technologies, such as CDMA, WiMAX, GSM, etc.

Anyone with a WWAN card can easily connect to WWAN and use the internet. The advantage of WWAN is that it covers a huge area. It provides coverage to nationwide, global, and local wireless.

With the help of WWAN, you can get connected to the internet instantly. It provides a fast and secure connection, so you can surf the internet without any worries. All you need is a WWAN card, and you can go online from anywhere in the world.

It is equipped with 128-bit encryption which makes it highly secure for users. It also uses various telecom networks to deliver uninterrupted services. It is a network connection that is established worldwide.

WWAN comes in handy while traveling. Just install a WWAN card on your laptop and you are good to go. Alternatively, you can get a SIM card and insert it into your mobile phone to access the internet. Your connection will use the existing data plan you have.

When you turn your laptop, it will try to connect through a wired connection first. But you can change it to a wireless connection. In case, it doesn’t work, the WWAN card will then use the cell connection to connect through the SIM card. All of this will happen instantaneously, so you can get access to the internet quickly.

The Function of WLAN

WLAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network. In WLAN devices connected to the network are distributed wirelessly. However, you shouldn’t mistake it for Wi-Fi. That’s because Wi-Fi is a particular network, whereas WLAN refers to the whole distribution system itself.

WLAN is quite similar to LAN as they both use DHCP to provide dynamic IP addresses to new devices. The advantage of WLAN is that you don’t have to deal with tangling cables.

WLAN is often used by organizations as it helps them to keep their members connected. But unlike WWAN, it doesn’t have wide coverage. It provides a limited range and can be accessed on both desktop and mobile devices.

Compared to WWAN, WLAN is a lot cheaper. Also, it can be upgraded without spending a lot of money.

When to Use WWAN?

Whether you are a technician, remote worker, traveling salesperson, or someone who needs to be online always, WWAN could be the best solution for you.

With WWAN, you can connect to the internet from anywhere you want. As long as you have a mobile signal, you are good to go. Alternatively, you can also use your laptop provided that it has an in-built WWAN card. With the help of a WWAN-enabled laptop, you can access the internet from everywhere.

WWAN is the best option, especially when you are traveling. It provides fast and secure internet anywhere.

When to Use WLAN?

Unlike WWAN, WLAN doesn’t have huge coverage. It uses high-frequency radio waves and includes an access point to the Internet. It allows users to move around and access the internet within the coverage area.

WLAN is used for small office and home networks that link together computers, laptops, smartphones, printers, gaming devices, web TVs, and other devices with a wireless router that connects them to the internet.

check out Best Wireless Routers Under $100 if you want more information on wireless routers.

Pros & Cons of WWAN

WWAN makes the best choice when traveling. With the help of WWAN, you can connect to the internet from any place you want. It provides coverage over a large area. That being said, let’s look into the pros and cons of WWAN.


  • Quick deploy.
  • Large coverage area.
  • Readily available.
  • Easy to install.
  • Less infrastructure.


  • High installation cost.
  • Security issues.

Pros & Cons of WLAN

On the other hand, WLAN provides a small coverage area, which is suitable for home and office networks. It is used to connect internet-enabled devices to a router through which it accesses the internet.


  • Wireless connection.
  • The signal doesn’t get blocked by physical barriers.
  • Extendable range.
  • Offers reliable communication.


  • Requires license.
  • Limited area.

Difference Between WLAN and WWAN

Now that you are aware of the basics of WWAN vs WLAN, let’s check out the main differences between the two networks.

It uses a cellular network.It uses radio, microwave, and infrared transmission.
It has worldwide coverage.It covers only a small area.
It doesn’t have good speed or performance.It offers excellent performance and speed.
It uses 128-bit encryption which makes it highly secure.It uses WPA or WEP which doesn’t provide complete security.
WWAN users are required to make a contract with their ISPs.It takes less time to set up and run.
It is limited to mobile devices only.It can be used with all devices.
It is expensive to installIt is very affordable.
It has 802.20 standards.It has 802.11 standards.

Here are more resources on Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch and their differences. 

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Is WWAN and WLAN same?

Ans: WWAN and WLAN are two different types of network connections. While WWAN offers worldwide coverage, WLAN is limited to a small area.

Q2. Can I use WWAN on my laptop?

Ans: To use WWAN on your laptop, you need to first install a WWAN card. Or you will have to get a laptop that has a WWAN card pre-installed in it.

Q3. Why is WLAN good

Ans: WLAN offers a reliable sort of communication. It is a versatile way of communication that reduces the need for physical wires.


Both WWAN and WLAN are crucial to the network connection. While the former provides worldwide coverage, the latter is good for small coverage areas. WWAN and WLAN, both connect you to the internet, but they are used in different places. WWAN comes in handy while traveling, and WLAN is good for home and office networks.