WANs link our sites together and connect us to the internet. They’re usually the most expensive part of networking. So we’re always trying to increase their performance and make the most of our investment.
Bandwidth will always be limited, compared to what you need. Just managing data is not enough – you need to enhance your technology to get more from your bandwidth. Begin by looking at available free tools that can help you squeeze more value out of your WAN.
IP SLA Tools
Cisco and Juniper, for example, have free tools in their routers than can help you monitor the network. Cisco encodes an Internet Protocol Service Level Agreement (IP SLA) into its IOS. The IP SLA enables you to review an SLA for an IP application or service This means you can use the IP SLA to validate service guarantees, monitor the network and any issues, and confirm network performance.
By using another free tool like WireShark, you can determine if your WAN is sending and receiving data packets. If your service is supposed to have 99 or 100% uptime, but you can only send and receive data packets 85% of the time, you may need to contact your service provider and find out what’s going on on their end.
Quality of Service Tools
Enabling Class-Based Quality of Service (CBQoS) on your router lets you check the quality of your data determines how usable your network data really is. This is especially important for voice data, such as in the cases of Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing. High quality data means clear voice and video transmissions.
If these tools aren’t enough for you, consider buying software designed especially to help you get the most out of your WAN. Software is almost always cheaper than hardware, and the market offers some really effective network software tools. For more information on getting the most out of your WAN, check out the SolarWinds WAN Analysis Best Practices webcast. This helpful video contains lots of useful information on how to keep costs down while keeping your network running at peak performance.