Ensuring acceptable WAN application performance

Ensuring acceptable WAN application performance

Date: Oct 14, 2010

Enterprise wide area network (WAN) application performance is a challenge for almost every modern business with branch offices, mobile workers, networked partners and clients, or external services such as cloud computing and SaaS. WAN optimization and acceleration technologies have emerged to address traffic issues, but are only part of the equation. Network engineers must be monitoring WAN links and measuring user quality of experience (QoE) to ensure networks and applications are working together to provide the best performance. In this video, John Bartlett discusses the best practices and products for pinpointing WAN performance and application delivery problems and strategies for addressing the issues once you've identified them.

In brief, Bartlett explains that in order to ensure acceptable WAN application performance, IT managers must measure user experience. How? Focus more on application response time. Make sure application quality is maintained during periods of system stress and end users can tell their application experience has improved.

Here are steps Bartlett recommends to improve application response time over the WAN:

  1. Monitor the wide area network: Measure the user experience by testing database access times from the client, Web page load times, video codecs, bandwidth, etc.
  2. Test to find the problem: Test the WAN end-to-end to monitor all components that can affect user experience. When monitoring the WAN indicates problems, find correlations with deeper testing and forensic network tools that capture information for "playback."
  3. Control WAN performance: Managers can control WAN performance by using traffic shaping tools, quality of service (QoS) and bandwidth management.
  4. Accelerate WAN performance: Technologies such as dictionary compression, protocol spoofing, caching and preloading can accelerate WAN application performance.

These steps, however, are a mere outline of mitigating poor user experience over the WAN. To find the WAN application performance formula, manage real-time applications (like voice and video), and see which WAN optimization vendors Bartlett recommends, view this video tutorial on ensuring application performance over the WAN. For more information, read this article on the different branch office monitoring options available to enterprises who want to improve WAN performance. 

About the speaker: John Bartlett is principal of NetForecast. He is a leading authority on real-time traffic, Internet performance and Quality of Service (QoS) techniques. NetForecast specializes in network-based application performance issues for transaction-based and real-time applications.

John has 28 years of experience in the semiconductor, computer and communications fields in marketing, sales, engineering, manufacturing and consulting roles. He has contributed to microprocessor, computer and network equipment design for over 40 products. He has been consulting since 1996.

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