Multi-Location Networking (WAN) – Best Practices

Challenges of a Multi-Site WAN Deployment

The performance of the multi-site Wide Area Network (WAN) directly impacts workforce productivity and morale. This is because WAN performance impacts application response time, including transaction time, and the performance level users experience at a remote branch location. While performance is essential for any networking solution, it becomes more critical for a WAN infrastructure. As the bottleneck, it must support high volumes of network traffic. To achieve this performance, multi-site WAN must be able to intelligently prioritize network traffic — particularly during times of heavy congestion. Multi-site WAN deployments are facing new challenges that make it difficult to ensure the performance and security necessary for today’s IT environment. These are the biggest hurdles:

  • Applications demand real-time connectivity, high bandwidth, and the ability to exchange large volumes of data transmissions with applications housed in the cloud.
  • The security perimeter has all but disappeared among remote users and mobile devices.
  • B2B partners exchange information freely but demand encryption and other security features for safe transmission.
  • In a multi-site WAN deployment, the benefits introduced to the network often do not extend to those operating outside the data center.
  • There may be a poor user experience when accessing a cloud-based application owing to the architecture of the network being centralized on legacy datacenters. This is common with companies that have an MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) infrastructure.

Effectively Managing Multi-Site WANs

Supporting consistent service standards across all locations while successfully consolidating operations can, therefore, be challenging to an enterprise. Fortunately, there are technologies that can assist businesses in this endeavor.

Virtual Private Networks – One common approach to creating a centralized networking architecture is through VPNs. These offer a private connection between sites over a public internet line. This is a cost-effective solution to securely transmit data. VPNs also offer security in the form of virtual tunnels, which encrypt data traffic upon entry and then decrypt on exit.

Centralized Data Access – Businesses adopting VPNs can also implement a data repository at a centralized location. This approach is ideal for data that is non-critical but still needs to be stored and accessed remotely. There are several advantages to cloud data storage, and, with some networking approaches, your network can be configured to allow data to be transmitted directly to a cloud server rather than backhauling to a central network and then out to the internet.

Software-Defined Networking – SDN allows for remote configuration of the network, so that network engineers stationed at headquarters can repair and troubleshoot network problems at the branch location. It separates data and control planes, to enable greater efficiency for management and to ease establishing policies across the network.

SD-WAN – SD-WAN significantly improves multi-site WAN management. It further optimizes networking, connecting locations over a wide geographical area, and supporting high-bandwidth cloud applications.

Best Practices for Multi-Site WAN Deployment

Determining how to best support the various solutions that require real-time connectivity and a high level of reliability can be complicated. Weighing SD-WAN versus MPLS is a common discussion happening in enterprises across the globe.

While MPLS has traditionally been a reliable pathway for data transmissions, the increased adoption of bandwidth-heavy solutions — and the need for agility in networking — has led to many organizations adopting SD-WAN. Here are the considerations to keep in mind when weighing SD-WAN versus MPLS:

So how does an enterprise solve the challenges of a multi-site WAN deployment? By increasingly adopting SD-WAN to address present challenges. Adding a virtual layer over the physical network removes many of the problems associated with traditional networking approaches

Building multi-site WAN systems is an intricate process that goes beyond simply establishing connections. Regardless of the number of locations involved, optimization of the network to drive business goals always remains a priority. Intelligent design and effective management are key to creating multi-site WAN systems that are cost-effective, scalable, and secure. At CSG Technologies, we have the expertise to help you build a multi-site WAN that simplifies the way your enterprise operates. Contact us today to learn more.

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Matt Parks

Matt Parks

About the Author: President & CEO, Matt has over 20 years building and leading high functioning teams
delivering exceptional results