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How WAN Aggregation Boosts Application Delivery

By CIOReview | Thursday, September 8, 2016

WAN (Wide Area Network) has travelled through many time frames, starting from the first generation—Time-division Multiplexing (TDM) to next generation’s Ethernet. On the enterprise level today, CIOs and IT managers are seeking to improve the end user application experience irrespective of the geographical bounds. In order to scale high and access network for better utility, WAN optimization is of top priority. The fundamental goal of WAN optimization is to maximize the efficiency of data transfer across the network. Next generation products achieve this efficiency by offering performance, visibility and control. The on-going IT market eyes for business agility and reduced communication costs. To fulfill business requirements, WAN optimization can be used where data bits are transferred over the network—where it can be cached or compressed. WAN aggregation is better utilized in environments where data compression cramps the network. WAN Aggregation, or ‘Link Load Balancing’, combines consumer-grade Internet with dedicated WAN connections.

How Does WAN Aggregation Work?

WAN aggregation, enables users to leverage multiple public connections to access the Internet. This is done by merging enterprise’s multiple small branch network connections onto a single link with higher capacity and reliability than the individual links. The WAN aggregators also introduce some mix of intelligence which is designed to propagate user’s outbound data sessions across multiple Internet connections. Further, WAN aggregator’s features inbound load balancing and failover by leveraging DNS-driven feature set. A Load-Balance router is used to aggregate WAN links together when there are myriad connections with end-points. Load-Balance router assigns these connections to various WAN ports based on the router policy to enhance the bandwidth and speed up the WAN traffic. Even after implementing such network enhancing WAN connections, the question of WAN aggregators empowering application delivery still persists.

Why WAN Aggregation?     

There are plenty of other methods for optimizing application delivery—WAN aggregation, and Route optimization. WAN aggregation tools enable IT managers to optimally run Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, IP Telephony and other services. The tools run end user application with better performance, and reliability by enabling customization of priority. This open setting for priority customization assists in choosing and allocating priority options for each network links.  Such settings aid users to gear up the precedence of different applications that are to be communicated. WAN aggregators are best utilized when choosing between a high reliable WAN link which has more cost per bit and the less-reliable Internet link with low cost. The aggregators enhance delivery based on current transit from each provider’s network by pairing multiple Internet links.

On an enterprise level, a CIO eyeing on deploying WAN aggregators onto the enterprise network needs to evaluate and wisely select the product that will adapt to the existing network environment.

How to Choose WAN Aggregator from a Potential Vendor?

Selecting a potential vendor and product is a crucial step and requires effective probing skills. After selecting the vendor ask some questions such as:

  1. What is the capacity links that your WAN aggregator can manage?
  2. What performance characteristic can your product manage?
  3. Does your WAN aggregator have any other optimizing mix?
  4. How many branch appliances does your Aggregator support?
  5. Are there any WAN optimizers for mobile worker?
  6. How reliable is your WAN aggregator?

These questions can help CIOs better select the WAN aggregator. While selecting the product a CIO should also have a detailed analysis on the upcoming trends in WAN technology. This will help in understanding the future road map of the existing WAN implementation and will save cost for purchasing new hardware and network essentials.