WAN Acceleration Optimization

By Staff Contributor on April 10, 2024

Wide area networks (WANs) are vital for countless organizations. These networks span a large geographical area and are generally composed of several local-area networks (LANs) that can communicate with each other. WANs are essential when transferring data from one office to another, between clients and staff members, and from organizations to their suppliers — and when WANs are correctly configured, they can deliver data at impressive speeds that are so fast that users at remote locations would almost believe they are all in the same building.

Unfortunately, WANs won’t offer that level of performance when left to their own devices. In fact, some WANs can be downright slow and unreliable, as everything from rogue applications to resource-intensive jobs running at peak hours can cause congestion on the network. That’s where WAN optimization and WAN acceleration come in. Organizations can employ various technologies and strategies to ensure their networks operate at peak efficiency and data reaches its destination as reliably as possible.

What is WAN optimization, and what is WAN acceleration?

WAN Optimization Techniques

What Are the Benefits of WAN Optimization?

WAN Monitoring, Optimization, and Acceleration with Network Tools

1. SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability (Free Trial

2. Riverbed SteelHead

3. Cisco

4. Paessler PRTG

5. Manage Engine OpManager

Accelerate and Optimize Your WAN

As you can imagine, WAN optimization can be a time-consuming process that requires a certain amount of expertise. However, the good news is that the right WAN optimization solutions and WAN acceleration strategies can greatly simplify the process, streamline data transmission, prevent network slowdowns, and ultimately ensure that business-critical processes have the necessary speed, reliability, and uptime.

What is WAN optimization, and what is WAN acceleration?

WAN optimization is a crucial component of efficient network management that encompasses various techniques and technologies aimed at enhancing the performance of WANs and, by extension, improving the user experience for those accessing applications and information via the network. Generally speaking, WAN optimization will require strategically prioritizing some parts of your network to receive more bandwidth than others. For example, you may allocate more throughput and bandwidth to the part of your network responsible for critical data-processing tasks through physical or logical network changes. In short, network administrators engage in WAN optimization to improve data transfer efficiency.

One key part of the WAN optimization process is WAN acceleration (not to be confused with application acceleration, which focuses on improving application performance rather than network performance). The goal of WAN acceleration is to improve the speed and responsiveness of data transmission across long distances and deliver a more seamless user experience for applications and services, which is vital for organizations with remote workers, distributed teams, or several branch locations. WAN acceleration reduces latency, bandwidth usage, and network congestion through techniques like data compression, caching, data deduplication, and protocol optimization.

It’s important to note that achieving WAN optimization and WAN acceleration is difficult, if not impossible, without close network monitoring and analysis. If you don’t keep an eye on your network’s activity and regularly analyze its performance, you may miss issues responsible for holding your network back and slowing data transmission. On the other hand, by continuously monitoring the performance of a WAN, your organization can quickly identify bottlenecks, latency issues, and areas of congestion. Analyzing network data also allows IT professionals to pinpoint the root causes of performance degradation and make informed decisions about optimizing the network configuration. What’s more, network monitoring can help you determine the impact of your WAN optimization techniques, ensuring that the changes put in place are delivering the desired results and providing optimal efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

WAN Optimization Techniques

If you’re wondering how to optimize WAN, don’t worry. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. In fact, there are several WAN optimization techniques worth trying, including:

  • Traffic Shaping & Bandwidth Allocation (Or Ring-Fencing): By prioritizing some types of network traffic over others or preventing the amount of bandwidth certain types of traffic can access, you can ensure that your business-critical traffic is as efficient and reliable as possible.
  • Data Compression: Compressing data through methods like ZIP files can minimize the amount of bandwidth consumed, leading to faster data transmission, reduced network congestion, and more efficient use of available resources.
  • Data Caching: By storing frequently used data on a local host, router, or server, you can ensure that it is faster and easier to access. Since this is regularly used, data won’t have to travel all the way from its point of origin to its final destination; future repeat data requests will be less burdensome on your network.
  • Data Deduplication: It’s also a good idea to identify and eliminate redundant copies of data. Referred to as data deduplication, this process involves sending references or links to data instead of sending the same data through the network repeatedly. Data deduplication can significantly reduce the amount of information transmitted across your WAN when performing remote backups, replications, or disaster recoveries.
  • Data Protocol Streamlining: By grouping or bundling requests from applications, you can reduce the number of requests, packet headers, and network handshakes going through your network and reduce the burden on your WAN.
  • Network Monitoring: Monitoring your network can also go a long way, as you’ll be able to identify nonessential traffic. This will allow you to create and enforce rules regarding Internet use, downloads, and more to ensure your critical applications and functions receive the bandwidth they need.

What Are the Benefits of WAN Optimization?

By making changes to your network to ensure different parts of your network receive more bandwidth, you can decrease response times for business applications over mobile connections and WAN links, accelerate storage replication, and eliminate unnecessary congestion — and in a world where cloud computing, applications, and network-wide technologies like web portals are on the rise, organizations’ WAN setups need to be more efficient than ever.

After all, your employees need to access files quickly, your remote workers need to view critical data and use network portals from afar, and your team members need video connections that don’t lag. WAN optimization and WAN acceleration play essential roles in ensuring all of that is possible. Instead of becoming frustrated while waiting for information, your users and employees can access information, communicate seamlessly, and collaborate instantly, making them more productive. What’s more, WAN optimization and WAN acceleration can help increase storage speeds, simplify network management, and improve remote work conditions.

WAN optimization can also help you save some money. Instead of pouring more money into additional bandwidth that your organization may not actually need, you can provide the fast and reliable internet connections your business needs by making the most of the bandwidth you already have.

WAN Monitoring, Optimization, and Acceleration with Network Tools

Monitoring, managing, optimizing, and accelerating your WAN is a big task, but the right WAN acceleration and optimization solutions can make a world of difference. So, we’ve gathered a list of our top network monitoring solutions with WAN optimization and acceleration capabilities to get you started.

1.  SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability (Free Trial)

©2024 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

Investing in a WAN monitoring and optimization solution is a big decision — and you can’t go wrong with SolarWinds® Hybrid Cloud Observability. This self-hosted software offers incredible visibility across on-premises and cloud solutions, making it ideal for organizations with hybrid environments. Not only does Hybrid Cloud Observability offer network monitoring and observability capabilities, but it can also help you monitor your infrastructure, manage your network configuration, and analyze your bandwidth usage. Plus, Hybrid Cloud Observability offers customizable reporting, easy-to-understand vulnerability dashboards, flexible licensing, and AIOps correlation. With Hybrid Cloud Observability on your side, you can enjoy increased availability, less tool sprawl, reduced alert fatigue, shorter remediation times, and a faster, more reliable WAN.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial of SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability today to get started!

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2.  Riverbed SteelHead

©2024 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved.

Riverbed’s SteelHead cloud-based software systems (an appliance capable of tackling bandwidth and latency problems and a management portal that simplifies designing, deploying, and managing WANs) can help your organization maximize network and application efficiency and performance. Good for SD-WAN optimization, management, and monitoring, SteelHead can help you tackle bandwidth congestion and latency issues without burdening your network.

3.  Paessler PRTG

©2024 Paessler AG

Paessler’s PRTG offers centralized WAN monitoring for organizations with distributed networks. This agentless software requires two PRTG components: a local probe and a remote probe. Once you have installed PRTG on the device where you will manage your IT infrastructure, a local probe capable of monitoring and transferring data to your underlying core server will automatically be created on the same computer. You can then install remote probes on computers in other locations to monitor the network and return data to the PRTG core server.

4.  Manage Engine OpManager

© 2024 Zoho Corporation Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.

ManageEngine’s OpManager is also a good choice for WAN monitoring, as it offers a WAN monitoring feature that keeps track of traffic details, round trip times, and WAN link availability. Not only can you use the dashboard to drill down and discover the root cause of poor WAN availability, but you can also read the provided detailed WAN performance dashboard reports. With OpManager, you can monitor your WAN’s performance from edge to edge, which makes meeting SLAs, identifying bottlenecks, fine-tuning your network configurations, and ensuring network and application availability easier.

5.  Cisco

There’s a reason countless organizations use Cisco’s WAN optimization technologies. Not only does Cisco offer unified monitoring across multiple sites, but it also can optimize the connection between different sites and unify IP address management. With Cisco, you can take advantage of many tools, including SD-WAN, WAAS (Wide Area Application Services), WAAS with Akamai Connect, and WAN Optimization Management.

Accelerate and Optimize Your WAN

Users expect fast and reliable network performance, which is why WAN acceleration and optimization aren’t optional. If your organization relies on cloud-based applications and data or has expanded geographically, your WAN must operate at peak efficiency. By optimizing and accelerating your WAN, you can reduce latency issues, bandwidth constraints, poor performance, and more, leading to happier, more productive network users.

The right WAN acceleration and optimization tools are crucial in addressing these challenges. By employing techniques such as data compression, deduplication, and protocol optimization, these tools reduce data transfer times, lower bandwidth consumption, and minimize latency. With a solution like SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability, you can save time, gain valuable insights into your network’s health and performance, and make informed decisions to improve productivity, network reliability, and user experience.

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