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Top 10 wide area network (WAN) news stories of 2011

What happened in the world of wide area networks (WANs) this year? Look back at the top 10 WAN news stories of 2011.

The network managers and IT professionals responsible for engineering wide area networks (WANs) made it clear which stories were most relevant to their jobs this year. Find out which most widely read stories on made our list of top 10 WAN news stories of 2011

10.  WAN optimization cuts backup over WAN for DR

Disaster recovery (DR) gives sites high availability during pandemics, attacks or emergencies, and it's up to network engineers to provide that backup over the WAN. But transferring those backups in a timely manner is a challenge. For one company, seven days was too long to complete a weekly backup, so it relied on WAN optimization to cut that transfer time down to one day. See what WAN optimization can do for DR backup in this story.

9. Cloud networking services boost public cloud performance

In 2011, several WAN optimization vendors introduced methods for accelerating the cloud. Some achieved this capability by partnering with other companies, while others opened up a market for cloud networking vendors that developed hardware-free services to improve cloud performance over the Internet.

8. Remote wireless access for teleworkers

Wireless is far more ubiquitous today than it was in the early days of telecommuting, which means that today's user expectations are higher than ever. A WAN manager's strategy for providing remote wireless access will have to keep up. This eighth top WAN news story of 2011 explains how.

7. Server consolidation: Protect WAN performance

Nearly all enterprises are undergoing some form of server consolidation in a central data center to save costs, but few are aware of how such a consolidation will affect the corporate WAN. In some cases, the upgrade meant a downgrade of WAN performance. One WAN manager took it upon himself to use WAN optimization to protect performance during his company's server consolidation.

6. Web application performance for complex apps

In 2011, Web applications proliferated across enterprises. Their sheer number is a challenge to most WAN managers, but so is the complexity of those applications. Complex apps wreak havoc on Web application performance, and finding a WAN monitoring metric to troubleshoot Web performance became just as hard. Fortunately, some vendors smartened up their WAN optimization platforms to include packet- and flow-based monitoring to give network managers a fighting chance at rectifying poor Web application performance.

5. Top VPN breaches of 2011

Virtual private networking (VPN) technology has been helping enterprises securely connect their sites for over a decade, yet misconceptions around VPN security persist. Some VPN breaches bankrupted companies in 2011. In this article, we cover how attackers compromised the VPN security of high-profile companies and what enterprises can do to avoid the same fate.

4. Breakthrough WAN technologies of 2011

Cloud computing environments, IPv6 and Internet connectivity were just a few breakthrough WAN technologies that IT vendors introduced in 2011.

3. How to move to IPv6

The IANA's IPv4 depletion compelled enterprises to not only learn why it's important to prepare for IPv6 now, but to also come up with a plan on how to move to IPv6 in 2011. World IPv6 Day also raised awareness around exhausted IPv4 addresses and gave enterprises and participating companies the chance to test IPv6 internal network deployments.

2. Metro Ethernet services  offer fast, cheap, simple alternative

Challenged by economics and a need for more flexibility, enterprises moved away from frame relay and ATM WAN connectivity. Some WAN professionals found that Metro Ethernet services offered simple, fast and cheaper alternatives.

1. Is it time to unplug MPLS for broadband?

Finally, the top-performing topically relevant WAN news story of 2011 asked whether it was time for enterprises to unplug MPLS for broadband WAN connectivity. While dedicated T1 lines and MPLS have always had a place in the enterprise, many companies are choosing to connect branch office networks with broadband Internet connections.

For more 2011 trends, view the top 10 WAN tips for 2011.

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