What is a WAN port and what is a LAN port?


What is a port?

A port can refer to two things:

  1. A physical outlet into which cables are connected.
  2. An identifier of a specific service’s endpoint. Internet traffic always includes an IP address and a port, so internet traffic for a device can be forwarded to it.

What is a WAN port?

WAN stands for Wide Area Network. Typically, in a simple network the internet signal from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is on a WAN, which then passes through a modem, and carries the IP address provided by your ISP.

A WAN port is the port into which you plug a connection that carries a WAN signal. Typically this port is the “IN” port of a device such as a router or modem, carrying your internet signal, and is closest in a network layout to the wall jack.

With Winston, a router will treat the internet signal coming from Winston as a WAN.

What is a LAN port?

LAN stands for Local Area Network. Typically, in a simple network it’s typically the network created by a router, and carries the IP addresses created by the router.

A LAN port is the port into which you’d plug a connection to devices on your home network. Typically, this port is the “OUT” port of a router, carrying your internet signal to your home computers and IoT devices, and is closest in a network layout to those devices.

Winston will create a LAN with an IP address of out of its LAN port. Your Router will treat Winston’s LAN like it’s a WAN, and create its own LAN, with its own IP addresses.

When do I use WAN ports or LAN ports?

A typical simple Winston network will have connections through these ports:

Wall jack → Modem → (WAN - Winston - LAN) → (WAN - Router - LAN) → computers and devices

Winston will translate a WAN (public IP address) into a LAN (IP address of, like a router would.

A router connected to Winston will treat the LAN coming from Winston as though it is a WAN.

For information about port forwarding, visit this article.


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