WAN performance can make or break productivity within an enterprise. With so much getting done via public cloud, videoconferencing, and smartphones, a poorly performing WAN can place a significant drag on corporate productivity. For this reason, modern enterprises place such an emphasis on WAN optimization today.

WAN optimization

This also means that identifying the best way to approach WAN optimization is an important part of designing a robust high-performance WAN. There are a variety of approaches to WAN optimization, but not all of them bring the same value.

MPLS coupled with “WAN optimizers” simply doesn’t make business sense in most cases today, and do-it-yourself (DIY) appliance-based SD-WAN has its drawbacks as well. To date, cloud-native SD-WAN, also known as In-net SD-WAN, have proven to be the most flexible and efficient means to optimize performance within the modern WAN.

In this article, we will explore the drawbacks of legacy WAN approaches to optimization and discuss how In-net SD-WAN delivers WAN performance optimization better than legacy WAN technology.

WAN optimization with MPLS & DIY SD-WAN

In the past, organizations that leveraged MPLS were incentivized to reduce bandwidth costs by leveraging WAN optimizers. However, as the industry has begun to shift away from MPLS and towards SD-WAN, the need to save on bandwidth costs has become less of a priority. SD-WAN allows enterprises to use more economical Internet bandwidth and worry less about trying to Band-Aid the shortcomings of MPLS when it comes to cloud computing and Internet bound traffic.

However, DIY SD-WAN (and managed SD-WAN from service providers that simply mark up a DIY solution) has its own shortcomings. Public Internet bandwidth is great for providing an abundance of bandwidth at an affordable cost, but it is also notoriously unreliable. While this may be acceptable for some applications, like email, there are many mission-critical apps that depend on low-latency and require minimal packet loss and jitter. Examples include VoIP, teleconferencing, and high-definition video streaming.

While some may think coupling MPLS with DIY SD-WAN is the solution here, that can lead to an incomplete, expensive, and sub-optional solution. For example, cloud services make it difficult or impossible to deploy the appliances needed to provide MPLS connectivity. This puts enterprises back at square one.

WAN optimization with In-net SD-WAN

Since coupling DIY SD-WAN and MPLS isn’t the answer, what is? Simply put, the best approach to WAN optimization is a solution that offers the reliability of MPLS while still delivering the flexibility of SD-WAN. Enter In-net SD-WAN.

In-net SD-WAN offers enterprises all the benefits of SD-WAN plus a global private backbone that is backed by an SLA. When you add the cloud-native design of In-net SD-WAN to the equation, you get a robust WAN communication hub that is able to optimize WAN performance in a variety of ways.

As they have Points of Presence all over the world, In-net SD-WAN providers are able to offer their customers reduced latency to even remote locations. Software also helps ensure that the optimal route is selected for each packet. Traffic shaping features help ensure that the prioritization of traffic to latency sensitive apps is possible (e.g. during times of congestion or in areas with limited amounts of available throughput).

Additionally, In-net SD-WAN includes features such as FEC (Forward Error Correction) to cut down on packet loss and automated self-healing and failover to ensure maximum uptime. To add to this, the monitoring capabilities of In-net SD-WAN go beyond simply identifying a blackout (complete loss of connectivity) and can proactively identify brownouts and failover to a better connection based on degraded performance. All this comes together to help address the abundance of issues that may occur in the “last mile” and maximize the amount of time latency sensitive apps perform as desired.

In-net SD-WAN also offers integrations that further enhance WAN optimization efforts. Oftentimes, the Points of Presence on the In-net SD-WAN backbone are at or near datacenters hosting major cloud services such as AWS and Azure. This allows In-net SD-WAN to provide connectivity to those services that rivals even Direct Connect (AWS) and ExpressRoute (Azure). Additionally, In-net SD-WAN enables the configuration of egress points that allow traffic to exit at the Point of Presence closest to a given customer’s instance of a given application (e.g. Office 365).

Cloud-based SD-WAN

In-net SD-WAN is the connection hub enterprises need for WAN optimization

When taken as a whole, it becomes clear that In-net SD-WAN is a global “connection hub” that maximizes flexibility and performance for an enterprise. Since it is cloud-based, In-net SD-WAN can easily and securely be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. The global network of Points of Presence enables optimized connections to a variety of cloud services and low-latency across the globe.

In short, In-net SD-WAN addresses the cost and flexibility issues of MPLS while delivering the performance and WAN optimization DIY SD-WAN simply cannot.