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What Else Could Your Network Do if You Could Increase Bandwidth?

WAN connection

A fish doesn’t notice that it’s surrounded by water. Water is just a normal part of its environment that is taken for granted.

In the same vein, for a very long time, IT managers have viewed as fact that enterprise WAN bandwidth is very scarce. Despite all the advances in technology, from 100Mbps Ethernet links to every desktop and Gigabit Ethernet desktop connections, network managers live with the reality that a 1.5 Mbps T1 WAN connection shared between anywhere from 5 to 50 people is often times all that is available.

The substantial lack of availability of bandwidth on most WANs has a striking impact on the design of the corporate WAN, and on what types of applications can be effectively run on it. Compounding the problem is the economic reality of our times, and the fact that spending twice the budget to achieve the same bandwidth is just simply not an option for most companies.

However, there is a new technology available that can achieve 20 to 30 times the existing WAN bandwidth that has been previously enjoyed. The technology is Adaptive Private Networking (APN). While almost all techniques from WAN Optimization vendors like Riverbed and Blue Coat are about conserving bandwidth, APN actually takes the opposite approach, focusing, much as RAID did with “cheap” PC hard disks for storage, on making inexpensive bits business quality.

Rather than discussing how APN works here, I’d rather focus on the possibilities that are now available on an enterprise WAN that were previously unthinkable due to the lack of bandwidth. Videoconferencing is a great example. Because APN uses a high volume of inexpensive Internet bandwidth, it makes it affordable and achievable to run high definition videoconferencing to even your smallest branch offices on a “converged network”. Start thinking about the applications you could run, and the centralization redesigns which would be possible, if only you could increase bandwidth by 20 times on your WAN.

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