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Meeting the WAN Challenge

The ultimate goal of all network infrastructure is to deliver applications effectively to users. Delivering applications effectively in the local-area network (LAN) is easy; preserving that performance across the wide-area network (WAN) remains challenging.

To ensure enterprise-class application delivery across the WAN, IT must address four key areas:

    1) Bandwidth limitations
    2) Latency
    3) Quality of service (QOS)
    4) Path optimization

Bandwidth The most obvious restriction for application delivery over the WAN is reduced bandwidth. Businesses today run more applications across the WAN, and often the bandwidth requirement per application has increased. Web-enabling applications such as ERP systems can cause a transaction's bandwidth to increase as much as tenfold compared with client/server architectures.

An alternative to upgrading WAN links is to apply data compression to reduce the traffic consumed by applications. For example, repeated data sequences in a file, such as repeated letters, words, or images, are replaced by a short flag instead, so a file that would have consumed 1 Mbit/s can instead require only 250 kbit/s or even less.

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