The Hidden Truth About Hybrid WANs

The segregation of MPLS circuits and public broadband links in enterprise networks is traditional practice, but one that is highly inefficient. In the age of cloud computing and real-time applications like VoIP and video that require tremendous bandwidth and traffic prioritization, businesses need more out of their WANs.

How can the enterprise WAN evolve to better utilize bandwidth across all links? It all starts with the hybrid WAN. Here are the secrets of the hybrid WAN: a primer on what it is, how it can be used by businesses and what benefits you can expect from it.

What is a hybrid WAN?
Simply defined, a hybrid WAN consists of an MPLS link and one or more broadband links on the same network. By making all of these circuits active, the hybrid WAN can draw upon an aggregated pool of bandwidth at all times. With this central resource in place, the hybrid WAN can serve both performance-sensitive and noncritical applications equally well and the cost per megabit is reduced. This is essentially the opposite of legacy arrangements, under which MPLS is usually used as a corporate backbone while and broadband links are used for VPNs to smaller offices and Internet access.

Both MPLS and broadband have their advantages and disadvantages. MPLS is backed by SLAs but is costly; Metro Ethernet and cable and DSL Internet access are less expensive but don’t have the assured reliability and QoS of MPLS.

Think of the hybrid WAN as the best of both worlds. It maintains an enterprise-class WAN with reliable quality of service, while adding plenty of bandwidth from the public Internet links at a lower cost per megabit. Accordingly, it can efficiently respond to evolving application requirements. Spikes in critical traffic that would have overwhelmed an MPLS link alone can instead be more intelligently handled through a combination of MPLS and broadband Internet.

Why businesses should implement hybrid WANs
The hybrid WAN solves a wide range of problems relating to network and application performance, along with speed to market. Moreover, it improves the economics and simplifies the mechanics of supporting today’s applications through its combination of MPLS and Internet links.

Traditional network configurations are often costly, complex and inefficient in handling failover and utilizing bandwidth. More specifically, expensive MPLS capacity may be overbought and over-provisioned simply to hedge against traffic spikes. Manual processes are also commonly used to repair the WAN at critical moments or to handle a link failure. Recovery times may be long and capacity suboptimal. Time to add new offices and grow the business are hampered by long lead times to install new MPLS circuits.

The right hybrid WAN makes more efficient use of network resources through its active use of all available links to ensure ample capacity. It constantly measures each network path for latency, jitter, packet loss and availability, and can seamlessly shift important traffic like VoIP packets from one path to another in the event of path degradation. Requirements for performance can be met by automatically managing traffic based on company-defined policies.

The core benefits of hybrid WANs
Hybrid WAN is ideal for expanding businesses, reducing WAN operating costs, meeting growing capacity demand, ensuring the quality of performance-sensitive applications like VoIP and video. Taken together, these benefits give businesses a clear advantage over the constrained and costly legacy of MPLS WANs.

Hybrid WAN implementation does not have to be difficult. With the right hybrid WAN solution, existing backup links (Internet, Ethernet or wireless) can be easily and cost effectively added to the active link pool and put into full use by the business immediately.

Ultimately, hybrid WAN allows for complete utilization of all links so back up links never sit idle again, wasting precious company resources. The overall WAN operating costs can go down as less expensive Internet links are added to expand the network.  And, with greater capacity, real-time bandwidth sensitive applications can finally deliver on their promise, ensuring the business is running at full speed.

A hybrid THINKING WAN with Talari

Unlike other network solution providers, Talari is changing the way companies think about, create and manage their WAN— and redefining workplace efficiency in the process. Through detailed one-way measurement of every packet combined with intelligent link aggregation, Talari’s patented technology proactively manages network capacity, reliability and performance across the hybrid WAN. Packet-loss, latency and network outages are managed in real time and resolved without human intervention by routing packets across the best available link automatically. Visibility into the WAN is available through Talari Aware so IT management can hold service provider’s feet to the fire to uphold SLAs and regularly monitor Internet link performance. Many companies find Internet links outperform MPLS links when Talari is deployed, creating a fast, resilient and high performing network that the business can count on. Learn how Dayton Superior or the Hain Celestial Group leverage a THINKING WAN from Talari.


Categories: Application Performance/Application Quality, Network Reliability, Hybrid WAN

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