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A paradigm that defines the wide area networks (WANs) of today and tomorrow is described. Characterized by increasingly higher speeds, a broader range of connectivity options, and the appearance of extremely dynamic topologies that are constantly changing, this paradigm features unprecedented levels of flexibility and configurability for network users everywhere. The factors driving the evolution of global telecommunications services are reviewed. The roles of the computer networking vendor, connectivity options, bandwidth and performance choices, and dynamic internetwork topologies in establishing WAN services are discussed.<>

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Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 10 )