Unit 45: Wide Area Networking Technologies

Unit 45: Wide Area Networking Technologies

Unit code:F/601/1562

QCF Level 5:BTEC Higher National

Credit value:15


To provide learners with an understanding of Wide Area Network (WAN) technologies and the delivery of a wide range of networked services across a WAN infrastructure.

Unit abstract

WANs such as the internet have become a part of everyday life with many commercial, educational and governmental organisations having ownership or access to a WAN infrastructure. Many home and small business users broadband/ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) connections are part of a WAN infrastructure supplied by their Internet Service Provider, where in many cases, the WAN precedes the direct connection to the internet.

The impact of a WAN across an organisation includes the up-skilling of staff, changes to the physical environment and changes to commercial procedures. It also requires changes to the access, security and ownership of the data which passes across the WAN. In this unit learners will understand that consideration must be given to not only the physical WAN but the organisational culture as a whole.

Learners will understand the importance of considering how WAN devices communicate and ‘learn’ about other devices and the changing topology. They will also explore communication speed and traffic management issues relating to the Quality of Service (QoS) of data delivery.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

1     Understand the impact of WAN technologies

2     Be able to design WAN infrastructures

3     Be able to implement WAN infrastructures

4     Be able to manage WAN infrastructures.

Unit content

1     Understand the impact of WAN technologies

WAN technologies: eg dial-up, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) and all derivatives, broadband, frame relay, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), MPLS (Multiprotocol Layer Switching), interior routing protocols, exterior routing, static routing; WAN hardware: eg routers, layer 2 aggregators, servers, cabling systems, modems, transceivers, satellite uplinks, 3G, 4G, VPN concentrators

Traffic intensive services: quality of service management eg DSCP (Differentiated Service Code Point), IP precedence, queues, base rules, congestion management; quality of service need eg Voice over IP, video streaming, audio streaming;

WAN security: eg MD5 hash (Message Digest algorithm 5), broadcast reduction, filters, traffic rules, firewalls, access control lists, directed updates, tunnelling

Trust: trust of intermediary system; trust of remote systems; trust of networks on WAN

2     Be able to design WAN infrastructures

Devices: expected average number of devices on system; anticipated participation

Bandwidth: expected average load; anticipated peak load; cost constraint

Users: quality expectations, concept of system growth

Applications: security requirements, quality of service needs, redundancy

Communications: suited to devices, suited to users, supportive of quality of service

Scalable: eg able to support network growth, able to support addition of communication devices, able to cope with bandwidth use and trend change

Security: network access, protocol management, peer authentication, tunneling across untrusted domains

Technology: network design, routing table reduction, protocol management

3     Be able to implement WAN infrastructures

Devices: eg installation of communication devices allocation of networks, communication device configuration

Services: DNS (Domain Name Service), email, web, video, application

Specialised configuration: eg routing protocol, interfaces, network address allocation, security features, security ACLs, MD5 authentication, tunnel creation

Traffic management: system monitoring, traffic intensive, traffic precedence

Connectivity: suitable bandwidth, communication infrastructure, throughput

Testing: local systems able to inter-communication; security; bandwidth

4     Be able to manage WAN infrastructures

WAN performance: network monitoring tools, user access, traffic analysis, bandwidth monitoring, checking configuration, checking rules

Resolve WAN issues: using troubleshooting methodology; prove resolution

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

Assessment criteria for pass

The learner can:


Understand the impact of WAN technologies

1.1 critically evaluate different WAN technologies

1.2 critically analyse traffic intensive services and their performance

1.3 discuss WAN concerns and make recommendations to sustain network security, reliability and performance

1.4 critically evaluate different trust systems on a WAN


Be able to design WAN infrastructures

2.1 design a WAN infrastructure to meet a given requirement

2.2 critically evaluate the suitability of WAN components


Be able to implement WAN infrastructures

3.1 build and configure a WAN (including services) to meet a given requirement

3.2 implement network security on a WAN

3.3 critically review and test a WAN


Be able to manage WAN infrastructures

4.1 monitor and troubleshoot a WAN

4.2 resolve WAN issues to improve security, reliability and performance

4.3 critically evaluate the performance of a WAN.


Links to National Occupational Standards, other BTEC units, other BTEC qualifications and other relevant units and qualifications

The learning outcomes associated with this unit are closely linked with:

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Unit 5: Managing Networks

Unit 24: Networking Technologies

Unit 44: Local Area Networking Technologies

Unit 9: Computer Networks

Unit 25: Routing Concepts

Unit 46: Network Security

Unit 10: Communication Technologies

Unit 26: Design a Small or Home Office Network

Unit 32: Networked Systems Security

Unit 27: Network Operating Systems

This unit has links to the Level 4 and Level 5 National Occupational Standards for IT and Telecoms Professionals, particularly the areas of competence of:

•     IT/Technology Infrastructure Design and Planning

•     IT/Technology Service Operations and Event Management •      IT/Technology Management and Support
•     Change and Release Management.

Essential requirements

Learners must have access to a live or ‘detached’ network environment to create the network infrastructure and develop their skills. This may also be successfully accomplished using virtual machines.

Learners must have access to facilities, which allow them the opportunity to fully evidence all of the criteria of the unit. If this cannot be guaranteed then centres should not attempt to deliver this unit.

Evaluation of a current systems and solutions, commercial practices, social conditions and the culture surrounding the system in use is of as much importance as delivering work supporting potential understanding of the technological systems the and the services they offer.

Learners must have access to a range of suitable networking hardware and as it is important to undertake as many practical activities as possible to reinforce theoretical learning. There are many virtual, emulated and simulated systems that now support delivery; they must contain the elements pertinent to the core of this qualification unit to assure delivery.



Reid A WAN Technologies CCNA 4 Companion Guide (Cisco Press, 2006) ISBN-10: 1587131722



Employer engagement and vocational contexts

Working with a live system will present many risks, that the centre, employer and learner must be aware of. Using a current vocational context to deploy an additional or alternate solution will enhance the learners’ experience and enable understanding of wider technical application.