How Will WAN Optimization Help My Network?

Complete WAN optimization products and services allow a business to do much more than simply queue the bad traffic.

An ideal WAN optimization solution will allow you to prioritize traffic and guarantee a certain amount of available bandwidth for mission critical applications. Wide-area network (WAN) optimization describes applications and products used to manage and accelerate the flow of data across a wide-area network (WAN). In this Webopedia slideshow you ll learn more about some of the specific technologies used in WAN optimization.

WAN Optimization Defined

A Wide-area network (WAN) is a computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more local-area networks (LANs). Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.

WAN optimization is an important part of network management because it allows you to prioritize traffic and guarantee a certain amount of available bandwidth for mission critical applications. Complete WAN optimization solutions allow a business to do much more than simply queue the bad traffic. They can block unwanted (in and outbound) traffic, allow it at certain time during the day, give priority to certain hosts, and enforce many other related policies. They will optimize the actual traffic as well, providing lower latency and higher throughput for the most critical applications.

VPN: Virtual Private Network

Network Wires

Wide Area Networks can accelerate application performance and increase throughput and increase network and bandwidth scalability in addition to application performance. An ideal WAN optimization solution will allow you to prioritize traffic, and guarantee a certain amount of available bandwidth for mission critical applications.

One optimization technology, VPN tunneling or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), is used to avoid packet delivery issues in shared WAN environments. This technology enables one network to send its data via another network’s connections. Tunneling works by encapsulating a network protocol within packets carried by the second network. This WAN optimization technique is important for any business that transmits business-critical data over a public network.

WAN Technologies

An ideal WAN optimization solution will help to manage and accelerate the flow of data across a wide-area network (WAN). Some of the specific technologies used in WAN optimization includes: data compression, data prioritization, streamlining data protocols, deduplication to eliminate redundant data transfers, caching, VPNtunneling and other technologies. Using WAN optimization offers increased network and bandwidth scalability, improved application performance and high availability.

Bring it all Together

An ideal WAN optimization solution will allow you to prioritize traffic and guarantee a certain amount of available bandwidth for mission-critical applications. Complete WAN optimization products let a business do much more than simply queue the bad traffic. It’s important that employees have access to the data and applications they need over a wide area network as if they were on the local area network. Using application acceleration, wide area file services (WAFS), and WAN optimization, businesses can increase productivity and save money by reducing server and storage sprawl and the number of necessary software licenses.

Congratulations! You now understand how WAN optimization works and the benefits it can provide to your business.

This article was originally published on April 28, 2011

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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