Stay-at-home mandates across the U.S. have led to an explosion of remote workers increasingly dependent on real-time applications. As a result, the wide area network (WAN) has become all the more important to IT departments managing a workforce that is fanning out into many disparate points. Now more than ever, the unpredictable necessitates the predictable in terms of reliable app performance and continuity of business-critical applications.
To minimize manual intervention, IT leaders are emphasizing the automatic delivery of low-latency and high-reliability applications, leveraging network architecture that not only detects and fixes errors with sub-second latency, but that also recognizes application performance in real-time. They have in many cases stepped up their game with “app aware” networks that define—through policy and constant measuring and monitoring of networks—where applications send traffic. For example, priority traffic versus non-priority, as in choosing MPLS for critical voice versus public Internet for email or text.
Some organizations have taken the next step in moving toward “app fluent” SD-WANs that continuously monitor WAN conditions and instruct networks on how to automatically adjust to new traffic patterns. Dynamic and fluid controls seamlessly manage data and customer applications, avoiding the congestion caused by the unprecedented levels of video conferencing and streaming currently taking place. The ability to reroute traffic and to rebalance networks in milliseconds is helping these organizations to optimize application performance, even amid the new and unprecedented ways in which we are all working.
By continuously monitoring WAN conditions and automatically controlling traffic flows from the edge of networks, enterprises can avoid massive slowdowns. With sub-second decisions about the optimal paths for data packets —based on the best route, the application’s policy, the state of the network, and the type of data being transmitted—it becomes possible to provide reliable and continuous delivery of critical applications.
As work-at-home orders evolve, it will be interesting to see how today’s automation efforts will carry over, possibly enabling large chunks of the population to work remotely even after the crisis ends.
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