How to improve visibility and transparency of your WAN

Time and time again we speak to customers about the lack of visibility and transparency on their WAN – and they’re frustrated about it. The frustration we see is not surprising. For most, the WAN is critical for the operations of their business. When something is going wrong on the network or they need to make informed decisions about the future of their network, how is a customer supposed to move forward without the key information about the performance and requirements of the WAN?

Often customers will adopt a fully managed service as many organisations don’t have the time or the skills in house to pay the WAN much attention, that is until they need to. At that point customers may struggle to get the answers they need to allow them to make informed decisions and ultimately achieve a highly performing network that is fit for purpose. So, what scenarios do we see?

Scenario 1: The network is performing poorly but you’re not getting answers.  

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. We often speak to customers that have a problem but can’t pinpoint it. Branch clients are complaining of slow applications or random disconnections. The infrastructure service provider says it’s not their problem. A fault call with has been raised with the WAN service provider but all they do is ping the router and say it’s not their problem. Or worse, the WAN service provider suggests that you need more bandwidth but provide no evidence to suggest why. When most organisations rely on their network activity, an ongoing fault can be costly. However, in situations like this, where does a customer turn next? How can you get a fault resolved when the service providers do not take ownership?

Scenario 2: You are looking to redesign your WAN.

We also speak to customers that are starting a project for a new WAN design but don’t know what applications are on their network or the requirements applications have of the network. Customers need to know their application mix and any thresholds associated with those applications. Is there a threshold for latency or jitter? Can the application cope with any packet loss? What bandwidth requirements does it have and will it change in the future? How critical is the application and what would be the impact if it was unavailable for any time? It’s difficult to design a network if you don’t know the requirements that you are designing for, ultimately it will be a best effort rather than an informed design.

Scenario 3: You are considering whether it’s time to adopt SD-WAN

The decisions around the WAN become more complicated as we start to consider whether now is the time for that new technology – SD-WAN. When is it the right time to adopt this technology, will it help the performance of my applications and can it help reduce our WAN costs? Rather than asking whether its time you adopted the new technology the question should be – will this technology bring a benefit that will help us meet our objectives? To understand the impact it will have on your WAN you need to understand how your WAN is performing and the application’s requirements traversing the WAN. Would low touch deployment or centralised policy management help you respond to your organisations needs faster? It’s time to look under the hood.

To make informed decisions you need visibility, information and insight which is not readily available when it comes to the WAN. 50% of IT projects fail to meet their objectives – if the network used to access your applications can’t deliver the availability and responsiveness required then your investment in new technology could be wasted. So where do you go from here?

ANS’ WAN Assessment Service will enable you to gain a clear understanding of your existing network and deliver the appropriate commercial and technical strategy for the future. To learn more about our WAN Assessments download our brochure here.

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