December 31, 2008

Accelerating a Diverse Mix of Traffic Across the WAN

  • A Webtorials Brief
  • Jim Metzler, Webtorials
Virtually all organizations find that WAN acceleration is both important and complex. WAN acceleration is complex in part because of WAN characteristics such as limited bandwidth, latency and the combination of packet loss and out of order packets. Another factor that makes WAN acceleration complex is the fact that not all traffic has the same requirements and hence different traffic categories require different acceleration techniques. For example, real time applications such as VoIP and video conferencing require QoS. Bulk TCP-based applications typically require protocol acceleration as well as techniques such as FEC and packet re-ordering.

Further complicating the task of implementing WAN acceleration is the fact that how a technique such as WAN deduplication is implemented can have a significant impact on how well it performs. If WAN deduplication is implemented at the TCP layer, it only optimizes TCP traffic. If WAN deduplication is implemented using a token-based approach, it may not be very effective accelerating the performance of applications that have dynamic data.

In order to be successful with WAN acceleration, IT organizations must identify the primary categories of traffic that transit their WAN and must also identify the WAN acceleration requirements of those traffic categories. In addition, when comparing WAN acceleration solutions, IT organizations must understand how the various acceleration techniques are implemented and determine the impact of that implementation on the performance of their applications.

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