As we move ever closer to a hyper-connected world, WAN optimization experts are set to have their work cut out for them as a never-ending stream of devices joins the online universe. And as the interconnected globe of tomorrow continues to spawn connection-dependent technologies (from smart watches that monitor your health, to sensors that detect and report on natural disasters before they happen, to smart fridges) WAN optimization methodologies that facilitate access to information from billions of devices will play a central role. In this blog, we’ll look at what some of the top minds in network management have to say about best practices for WAN Optimization in the years to come.

When it comes to content delivery, caching is your best friend.

With the rise of broadband internet connectivity around the world, and the subsequent proliferation of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), caching has become the de facto method for minimising latency and improving delivery times over large networks. In a nutshell, caching is the process of storing local copies of frequently-requested content on servers around the world, and then providing that content to the user from the closest server to their location. Not only does this drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to provide content to users, it also frees up capacity on your WAN links for more critical business functions. As Art Reisman mentions in this article, caching can reduce traffic on your WAN links by as much as 50%. There are many CDN services available, which vary in both pricing and scope, but an increasing number of organisations are opting to create their own CDN, which gives you more control over the way your network operates. To learn more about CDNs and how they form a critical part of your WAN Optimization strategy, read our CDN blog series here.

Augment your WAN solution with cloud services.

The cloud has become a big part of our private and professional lives, and it’s unlikely that will change any time soon. A mistake that many people make when thinking about the cloud is to assume that storage is all there is to it. But today, not only storage solutions, but entire infrastructures and applications are being provided as a network service. Essentially, augmenting your WAN Optimization strategy with cloud services means you get the best of both in-house and outsourced IT management. Incorporating hybrid cloud solutions can make a world of difference to the efficiency of your WAN by combining the security and customisability of a dedicated Wide Area Network with the elasticity and essentially infinite capacity of public cloud services.

Look for WAN management solutions that offer in-depth reporting, visualisation and granular control.

At the end of the day, WAN Optimization is infinitely easier when you have a clear idea of what you’re looking at. There are countless Network Management Software (NMS) platforms available today, but not all are created equal. Depending on the scale and complexity of your WAN environment, certain products may not be able to deliver the metrics you need to get a clear idea of the status of your network environment. Any NMS worth its salt comes with visualisation capabilities that make it possible to understand what your data is saying at a glance. A good NMS system, with respect to WAN Optimization, should also allow you to drill down into the nuts and bolts of your network environment and report on the metrics that matter most to you and your organisation.

With over a decade’s experience in the Southern African ISP and telecoms industries, IRIS Network Systems can help you get the most out of your WAN assets, no matter their scope, scale or complexity. To find out more, download our eBook guide to WAN Optimization.