Taming Your WAN
by Joanie Wexler
Posted 4/2004; Published 10/2003




As organizations grow more decentralized, more traffic traverses the WAN to reach remote sites and users. In this respect, corporate reliance on the WAN for access to IT resources is skyrocketing. Because user WAN links are generally more constrained and prone to latency, jitter and packet loss than are LANs, controlling the behavior of WAN traffic is a mounting requirement.


The tools now available combine monitoring on a per-application, per-protocol and per-user basis to help determine what’s actually on the network and how it is behaving and affecting other traffic. Based on this information, automated tools can be used to appropriately mark, classify, queue, shape and rate-control traffic with policies that can be propagated across many subnetworks.


Compression can also be used to boost efficiency and performance. Finally, route control can be considered an ancillary part of the picture.


Many enterprises say they like the plug-and-play simplicity of standalone traffic management appliances and the utilization reports they generate, while others prefer to leverage the QOS capabilities embedded in their edge routers. Both have their advantages and drawbacks; what’s important is that enterprises use whatever method with which they are comfortable to stay in control.


About the author:

Joanie Wexler is an independent editor and writer based in Silicon Valley.



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