The Business Need for WAN Technologies
There have been many changes and innovations in the field of wide area networking since Network Defence began in 1996. For many organisations, the WAN infrastructure will be one of their biggest operational expenses in terms of total cost of network ownership. Therefore, selecting the most appropriate solution or combination of solutions is a big decision, and one that is often complicated by what at first sight appears to be a confusing number of technology options and permutations of cost versus performance tradeoffs.
For many organisations with a small number of sites, connectivity options include private leased line circuits and the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) across the Internet. Leased lines offer an excellent solution in terms of reliability and guaranteed throughput and generally an enhanced service level. However, as the number of sites increase then the cost of deployment may become a factor. This is where VPN solutions come into their own, as they leverage existing Internet connections to provide a solution that looks very attractive in terms of cost-effectiveness. This technology also has downsides as there is no quality of service available across the Internet, meaning that real-time applications such as voice and video services cannot be guaranteed.
A modern alternative for the enterprise customer is to deploy a meshed solution using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). This solution allows for an ‘any-any’ routed infrastructure between all sites within the organisation and provides a variety of tail circuits including ADSL or leased line circuits, depending on the size of the site. MPLS technology provides options for quality of service (QoS), enabling delay sensitive traffic to be sent across the network so that voice and video applications can be delivered successfully.
MPLS services are delivered by a number of carriers, including BT, Virgin Media and Cable and Wireless. Network Defence has extensive experience in the deployment and support of WANs with all of the above carriers and many more.
For many organisations, the WAN infrastructure will be one of their biggest operational expenses in terms of total cost of network ownership.
Additional Technology Options
- Load Balancing
Load balancers are often deployed on inbound Internet connections, enabling you to manage connectivity to your web services. This allows for the delivery of fault tolerant web applications, smoothing out peaks to individual servers and permitting additional servers to be added or subtracted to meet fluctuations in traffic.
- Link Balancing
Internet connectivity is essential to the modern corporation, yet often it is delivered with limited or no fault tolerance. The addition of a link balancer to your site infrastructure means that you can deploy multiple outbound Internet connections. The link balancer will split the traffic amongst these connections and will manage the outbound traffic in the event of a failure of one link, thus delivering a seamless Internet service to your users.
- WAN Optimisation
A number of options exist to get the most from the bandwidth you are using. WAN optimisation systems use compression technologies to remove “repeated” traffic and ensure that the minimum number of bits is required to be sent over the WAN link, thus reducing latency and squeezing the maximum from the available bandwidth. WAN optimisation is particularly useful in expensive international circuits and can pay for itself within a few months.
Why work with Network Defence?
Network Defence is happy to work with you to determine the best solution for your network requirements and to ensure that the network migration is delivered smoothly.
Over many years we have managed a wide variety of customer WANs including:
- UK wide WAN with 40+ sites (originally frame relay, then MPLS)
- Europe wide WAN covering 15 countries
- Leased line networks for a number of clients
- VPN networks ranging in size to hundreds of connections
Talk with us today to discuss your WAN infrastructure
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