Defending against WAN bandwidth 'killers': Strategies to improve WAN performance

Enterprise wide area networks (WANs) are affected by an ever-increasing number of bandwidth issues that have an impact on WAN and worker performance. The standard solution is to add more bandwidth capacity in hopes of increasing the speed, a tactic that is usually expensive and does not always work as planned. Experts are looking into new solutions, however, including those that combine more than one strategy to improve the impact of WAN optimization and to allow users to better plan WAN bandwidth capacity through the use of monitoring tools and bandwidth conservation.

Is Facebook killing your WAN? Increasing demands on WAN bandwidth can create serious performance problems for networks within any enterprise. The popularity of recreational websites like Facebook, YouTube and Hulu has acerbated the problem as users spend more time cruising and hanging around these sites as digital replacements for the office water cooler. The result is a significant impact on WAN performance and access to vital applications and data.

Topics such as more bandwidth speed, strategies for bandwidth conservation and prioritization, and network monitoring are covered in this guide that focuses on the latest strategies for improving WAN performance and making the most of bandwidth capacity. Find out what some enterprises have done to improve performance on their WAN, what industry experts recommend for developing your own WAN improvement strategy, and the tools and techniques that exist to help monitor and improve WAN bandwidth capacity.

In this series:
  Three strategies to defend WANs against bandwidth-hogging websites
  What's killing WAN bandwidth? Monitoring tools can nab the culprit
  WAN optimization paired with proactive tools improves app availability
  Additional resources: Testing tools

  Three strategies to defend WANs against bandwidth-hogging websites  

As social networking and entertainment sites such as Facebook, Hulu and Youtube continue to become greater draws on workers' time, wide area network (WAN) bandwidth conservation is becoming a critical issue. Enterprises are increasingly allowing many of these sites, ones they might have once blocked completely, as the business case for using and employing online multimedia services grows.

For one global marketing research company, creating one strategy that would work globally meant looking at each office locally to determine which online services were business critical in that region and which weren't. Read more about Three strategies to defend WANs against bandwidth-hogging websites.

  What's killing WAN bandwidth? Monitoring tools can nab the culprit  

What do you do when WAN bandwidth slows to a crawl? The solution at a U.K.-based marketing firm was turning to a free set of tools that tracked down the problem and paved the way for a quick fix. These free (and supported) tools can provide just the right solution for basic networking problems at smaller firms. Enterprises with more extensive WAN bandwidth utilization can turn to more robust tools that use techniques like deep packet inspection (DPI) to determine exactly what traffic is going across the network.

The bottom line, though, is that applying the right set of tools can often save time and money by identifying bandwidth killers within a WAN and help to get things moving again. Read more about What's killing WAN bandwidth? Monitoring tools can nab the culprit.

  WAN optimization paired with proactive tools improves app availability  

To speed or not to speed? This may be a question that is becoming more often associated with wide area networks (WANs) than with driving a car. A report from the Aberdeen Group takes a look at how combining network monitoring tools with mixed WAN optimization and acceleration solutions can provide a significantly bigger boost to network throughput, application response time and application availability than simply increasing WAN acceleration. Read more on how WAN optimization paired with proactive tools improves app availability.

A complimentary copy of Aberdeen's WAN optimization and performance report is available until July 31, 2009, from the company's research website.

  Additional resources: Testing tools  

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This was last published in July 2009

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