WAN Aggregation: A Scale-out Approach to WAN Optimization

Recently, I had a chance to talk to Arthur Cole from IT Business Edge about WAN aggregation and how it compares to WAN optimization. Here is what we discussed:

Wan optimization works exceptionally well in cases where the bits transferred over the wire can be cached and/or compressed. If that is not the case, then attempting to minimize the number of bits that are pumped through the IP pipe may not have much benefit. Encrypted and video traffic are good examples. In those cases, there is no other alternative than to add more bandwidth in order to move the traffic through quicker.

If compression is cramping more passengers into vehicles, then WAN aggregation, i.e. Broadband Bonding, is adding more lanes to your highway. Both WAN aggregation and WAN optimization are valuable for transmitting people between locations more efficiently in the right circumstances. In the case of WAN aggregation, usually the IP tunnel that is created by combining several smaller IP connections has advantages compared to a single IP connection of equivalent specs. Usually, the option of such a single IP connection does not exist, but in cases where it does, it is very likely that it is cost prohibitive compared to creating an IP connection via WAN aggregation. In addition, WAN aggregation can diversify the connectivity over multiple ISPs. This creates “high 9s” availability across multiple ISPs that you can’t get with a single service provider.

Another advantage of aggregating multiple smaller IP is the natural variations in the IP fabric will create diversity in the former setup. At any given time, the chances of having better latency metrics on one of the IP lines is more likely than on a single IP line, so intelligent traffic grooming can enable low-latency transmission, which may not be possible with a single IP connection. In other words, if you have a single-lane highway and there is an accident, you can’t get around it, versus a multiple-lane highway which affords the means to be able to change lanes in an agile manner.

So overall, building an IP connection with WAN aggregation out of smaller WAN links would have performance, reliability and cost advantages compared to a single “WAN-optimized” IP connection with equivalent specs.

Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.

Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.



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