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5 Ways to Improve Your WAN’s Throughput: Tackling Traffic Problems

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Slow throughput is simply not an option for most companies in our modern, fast-paced world. Where network performance fails, user experience fails, and it only takes a few seconds of dissatisfaction for many clients to decide to take their business elsewhere.

If patience is a virtue then the Internet is challenging that ideal.

But, you can keep up. If you’re experiencing slower-than-ideal performance, we’ve got some quick tips for you to try before restructuring your entire architecture. Throughput issues often boil down to a problem with traffic caused by things like jams, jitter and latency.

Bottlenecks are becoming a thing of the soda lover’s past, and so they should be in your IT network.

Looking for specs on industry-leading SD-WAN solutions? Click here to download our Top SD-WAN Companies of 2016 Comparison Whitepaper today.

5 Quick Tips to Consider

1. Establish your traffic sources.

Depending on the size of your network, you may have traffic coming from all kinds of sources (i.e. mobile phones, desktops, laptops, printers, etc.). The first step to tackling traffic issues and increasing throughput is to dissect and detect what those different traffic sources are.

One of our clients, a large book publishing company, was experiencing slow performance due to bulk PDF file transfers, among other things.

If you are interested in learning how we helped them tackle this issue, download our free case study, “Increased Network Visibility: Pushing Print Into the Digital Age.”

Other well-known bugaboo traffic sources are wireless access points and large app downloads. In-house Internet users may be using your network resources to browse more often with the increased popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, adding unnecessary traffic to your already-packed pipes.

If you are experiencing slow throughput, any number of these issues could be what is plaguing you and/or your users. So, first thing’s first: get your traffic sources nailed down.

2. Identify traffic routes.

After you’ve painted a clear picture for yourself of your traffic sources, take a good, long look at where all of that traffic is traveling – to and fro.

This involves detecting which traffic is traveling through which network pipes. Some questions to consider during this step are:

  • How many traffic sources are there and how large are they?
  • How many routes are available?
  • How much bandwidth do I have to work with?
  • Is some of my traffic using Internet and some using MPLS?
  • How much is travelling across each?
  • Are there better ways for me to direct my traffic beforehand to improve network flow and
  •      performance?
  • Does the amount of network traffic match the number of routes available?
  • Do I need more bandwidth? More broadband?

In steps one and two, you’re really just analyzing your network to get a good idea of what your current infrastructure looks like and how it is operating. Now it’s time to start taking some action.

3. Diversify those routes.

If taking a look into your network pipes shows you some unnecessary bottlenecks or jams, consider how you can better direct your traffic beforehand.

If you are relying solely on MPLS, consider supplementing with broadband to open up alternative routes. Internet is much cheaper than bandwidth, and is perfect for heavy resources like video/ voice conferencing and wireless systems.

A separate Internet pipe allows you to free up your main network of heavy traffic because you can dictate certain user traffic to be routed there instead.

Augmenting your MPLS with broadband is a significant performance booster. Optimizing your main network’s pipes for vital traffic will increase your throughput and help decrease latency and jitter. Also, you can’t be mad about the price cut.

4. Prioritize traffic.

Once you have your new routes in place, everything will probably start running much smoother…that’s the idea, at least.

But, there is more you can do. Improve on!

Through actions like advanced switching, you can make sure that priority data is sent across your network before less-important data. This form of quality-based routing ensures that highest-priority packets don’t suffer because they’re waiting for ones that aren’t as crucial to your business operations.

Also, you want to make sure that unnecessary traffic is not travelling across your network. One way you can do this is by establishing company-wide policies that state user rules for your employees. Rules, like outlining more efficient ways to send email attachments or advising download- or stream-heavy sites to stay away from, can help you can keep in-house, unnecessary traffic low.

You can also apply policy-based routing to all incoming packets, which allows you

(or an administrator of your choosing) to dictate where they go ahead of time. This type of routing passes them through route maps, ensuring they end up where you dictate.

All of these are steps you can take to optimize your network traffic to increase throughput.

5. Consider future traffic growth.

Now, it’s time to look to the future. Why?

You need to consider if you current infrastructure, even thoroughly optimized, is enough to match predicted network growth. Even running the most optimized WAN won’t always help you if you are planning to migrate all of your applications to the cloud.

You need to consider things like:

Expected network growth

1. How many new data centers and/or branches do you plan on building?

  • How quickly do you need to deploy those new centers/branches?

2. How many applications do you have?

  • Are they cloud applications?
  • Or enterprise applications?
  •      Do you plan on migrating them to the cloud?

3. How many new applications do you plan on implementing?

4. How many users are on your network at a given time?

  • Is this number expected to grow?

5. Do you handle users’ sensitive information?

6. Do you need more centralized control of your growing network?

You’ve already analyzed your current architecture and optimized it. This step is all about connecting the now with the future. The main question here:  Will your current infrastructure, even at its best, still work for an evolving network that may look totally different in a few years?

It may be more sensible to implement a solution now  that allows for those changes down the road.

SD-WAN: A One-Stop Solution

Though the WAN optimization tactics mentioned above can increase your network throughput without greatly changing your existing architecture, it is worth it to mention that many companies adopting an SD-WAN solution are easily able to account for all of these changes and more with a simple software change.

Because a software-defined solution forms a virtual overlay on top of your existing network, it is easy to integrate or switch to, it is extremely flexible and the benefits are quickly visible.

Some of the top SD-WAN features that our customers report are:

  • Decreased OPEX and CAPEX
  • Increased network speed
  • Increased network security
  • Increased control and flexibility
  • Increased visibility into network pipes
  • Increased cloud and enterprise application performance
  • More reliable QoS with third-party vendors

To learn more about what an SD-WAN solution could do for your network, check out some of these helpful articles:

Looking for specs on industry-leading SD-WAN solutions? Click here to download our Top SD-WAN Companies of 2016 Comparison Whitepaper today.

Let CTC Technologies, Inc. Help You Choose

At CTC Technologies, we specialize in curing your MPLS blues. We don’t want our clients to suffer through the repercussions of slow network performance. Our goal is to help you grow.

Start on the path to an IT solution today by learning more about the great SD-WAN options available for your company. A switch to or integration with SD-WAN can increase your network’s effectiveness, performance and security while cutting operational and capital costs on your end.

Our WAN experts would be happy to help you find the right network solution. Please, get in touch with us.