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Alternatives to WAN performance optimisation

Here are some alternatives to WAN performance optimisation that should always be considered:

  • Application redesign or reselection: In some cases, it’s better to replace a few poorly-designed applications instead of trying to alter the WAN characteristics. Backup and file transfer or distribution applications that don’t remove long duplicate data strings (“deduplication”) or that handle transmission errors or congestion inefficiently are prime examples.
  • Application remoting: Often called “terminal server” or “Citrix,” this solution is best for applications that are tightly-intertwined with some remote service; for example, an application in a remote office that makes frequent calls on a database in the enterprise’s central server location. Application remoting can also save money on licensing fees and has other advantages. Application Remoting data flows will probably require network QoS.
  • System tuning: In some cases (e.g., inability to use all of the bandwidth in a high-latency path), simply tuning existing software or upgrading to more recent version (e.g., shifting to Microsoft Windows Vista from Windows/XP) can produce massive results at minimal cost.
  • WAN service modification: For some situations, the need for more bandwidth or better network delay or error characteristics is unavoidable or is the most cost-effective solution. In some cases, technology changes (e.g., to satellite from terrestrial links) are also involved. Renegotiation of carrier contracts and changing carriers are also options.

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