WAN optimization is about improving the performance of business applications over WAN connections. This means matching the allocation of WAN resources to business needs and deploying the optimization techniques that deliver measurable business benefits.
WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) are deployed symmetrically — in data centers and remote locations — and improve the performance of applications that are accessed across a WAN. The WOCs are typically connected to the LAN side of WAN routers, or are software integrated with client devices. They address application performance problems caused by bandwidth constraints and latency or protocol limitations. The primary function of WOCs is to improve the response times of business-critical applications over WAN links, but they can also help to maximize return on investment in WAN bandwidth, and sometimes avoid the need for costly bandwidth upgrades. To achieve these objectives, WOCs use a combination of techniques, including:
- Ensuring fair access for mission-critical applications during periods of congestion by prioritizing business-critical traffic, through quality of service (QoS) policing and traffic shaping.
- Minimizing the effects of network latency using methods like protocol and application specific optimization.
- Reducing the bandwidth required to transfer WAN traffic, by compressing it and de-duping the data.