Overcome the WAN bottleneck in 4 steps
The digital revolution has dramatically changed the way we do business over the past few years. We communicate more and more through ISP-provided services and video conferencing. We send and receive multi-gig files through cloud applications. And thanks to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) age, we accommodate more devices than we have employees.
Today, business moves faster in every way. Well not quite every way. The explosion of web activity has put wide area networks (WAN) and IT teams in a jam...a literal traffic jam of data that is bottlenecking your network. So, how do you ease the congestion without succumbing to the IT version of road rage? Here are four ideas to help you manage the flow and increase your throughput:
Analyze Traffic Sources
Before you start directing IT traffic, you have to play the part of traffic reporter. (Sorry, no helicopter rides involved.) This is the eye-in-the-sky phase, where you analyze what your bottleneck sources are. Is it from all the extra mobile phones and laptops? Is it your wireless access points? Does your company upload and download large PDFs, CAD drawings or video files? Cloud-based hosted voice systems are a great communications tool that can save money and boost productivity...if your WAN can support it. Figuring out the main reasons for all the congestion and identifying when traffic is heaviest will give you the information you need to make the necessary changes.
Educate your Employees
Analyzing your traffic sources and patterns is good for a couple of reasons. It identifies the day-to-day traffic necessary for your company to conduct business. It also highlights areas where you (and, specifically your employees namely) can scale back. How many workers are using music streaming services? Or bouncing from one social media platform to another? Or watching YouTube or online shopping during their breaks? Consider creating policies on internet use. At the very least, educate your employees on how their non-business-related internet activity creates network slowdowns.
Diversify the Routes
Being stuck in a traffic jam is bad enough, but having no alternative route to take makes it extra frustrating. Are you relying only on MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching)? If so, consider transitioning to a hybrid environment that uses both MPLS networks and the public internet. With a separate internet pipe, you can free up your main network for more important data while directing other traffic such as wireless and videoconferencing systems—which can be bandwidth beasts—on a separate internet connection.
Prioritize the Traffic
Even without going hybrid and adding new routes, you can control traffic flow through technologies such as advanced switching. This platform allows you to prioritize how your information funnels through your network, ensuring that priority data doesn’t get stuck behind less-important data. This quality control routing can improve network speed and quality of service.
Of course, another option is to make the move to SD-WAN...which is a whole other topic of conversation. To learn more about Software Defined Networking, check out this article.
And if you’re looking for ways to increase the speed and quality of your company’s communications systems, contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business operate more efficiently and productively.Get a Free Consultation