What is a WAN optimizer?

A Wide area network (WAN) optimizer uses a combination of protocol optimizations, using data deduping and compression, data caching and congestion control technologies. It can significantly improve network performance by reducing the amount of data transmitted. By reducing data, a WAN optimizer eases congestion, and improves application performance over the WAN.

Data compression – reduces the payload size to free up bandwidth availability. By reducing bandwidth consumption, more bandwidth is available to support additional traffic and improve application performance.

Data deduplication – eliminates redundant data over the WAN, as well as storage overhead. By reducing data, application performance is improved, and bandwidth is available to support more traffic.

TCP optimization – manages TCP sessions by establishing and tearing down TCP connections. This is accomplished locally, to avoid WAN congestion. WAN optimizers that terminate TCP, offload servers from handling overhead imposed by high volumes of TCP connections.

Application protocol optimization – manages chatty application protocols locally, to avoid WAN congestion. This reduces the volume of data transfers across the WAN. This avoids congestion and improves application performance.

Data caching

Each time a new packet goes across, the WAN optimizer “marks” it. When a user changes file data, the entire file doesn’t need to be sent over the WAN. The WAN optimizer recognizes changes locally, and sends back a pointer to the receiving device. This frees up bandwidth and improves application performance.

Moving from WAN optimizers to SD-WAN

WAN optimizers are efficient at removing unnecessary traffic over the WAN. While, the primary purposes of SD-WAN are to simplify, control, and automate network deployment and management. The ability to lower costs, and enable greater network agility with diverse WAN links is an SD-WAN hallmark. Most SD-WAN solutions include WAN optimization.