For many businesses, the WAN represents the backbone of their on-premises infrastructure. It provides the necessary bandwidth for a range of essential corporate activities, including checking email, utilizing VoIP and video conferencing and accessing a variety of mission-critical applications and resources. However, with so much going on within this network, common issues like bottlenecks, jitter and latency can easily creep up.
One of the best ways to deal with these problems is with a WAN optimization solution that can offer traffic shaping technology.
What is Traffic Shaping?
WAN optimization has become an IT buzzword of sorts in recent years, but many managers and business leaders might still be unsure as to what it actually means. WAN optimization includes several different technologies and processes that boost the efficiency of data traveling across the network, noted Secure Edge Networks. One of the strategies used within this approach is traffic shaping.
According to TechTarget’s Margaret Rouse, traffic shaping, or packet shaping, occurs when data being transferred across the WAN is regulated to provide enhanced performance.
“The practice involves delaying the flow of packets that have been designated as less important or less desired than those of prioritized streams,” Rouse wrote. “Regulating the flow of packets into a network is known as ‘bandwidth throttling.’ Regulation of the flow of packets out of a network is known as ‘rate limiting.'”
Why Prioritize Certain Data Packets Over Others?
The main idea here is the ability to attach a higher priority to certain data packets associated with specific applications or activities, ensuring that these packets take the best possible path across the WAN. But why would businesses want to have traffic shaping technology in place?
One instance when this is helpful is the use of critical applications like VoIP or other important platforms. With traffic shaping, the data packets associated with a VoIP call, for example, are prioritized over the packets connected with someone simply surfing the Internet. In this way, available bandwidth is dedicated to the VoIP call to prevent performance issues like latency and jitter. At the same time, the individual surfing the Internet still receives bandwidth support, but their traffic is second to more important activities.
Traffic shaping provides the freedom and flexibility for IT managers and business leaders to decide which activities are the most important, and thus, should be treated in a certain way. Decision-makers can select which data packets should be prioritized, and which can come second to more important activities.
This is also helpful for time-sensitive processes, Rouse pointed out. Data that needs to be transferred across the WAN quickly can be prioritized over other traffic. Other packets might be delayed, ensuring that the time sensitive material can make its way across the network in the most efficient way possible.
Many service providers also utilize traffic shaping within their networks. In this setting, the vendor is able to prioritize the traffic of certain customers over others, providing specific levels of service to each client.
Traffic shaping can be an immensely beneficial part of WAN optimization, particularly for organizations that need to prioritize specific activities over others to provide the best performance possible.
Netari Global Communications Group
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Are you looking for ways to improve WAN optimization in your business? Contact us through our online web form or call (813) 343-0440.