This time last year, we heard about a novel Coronavirus that was causing chaos in Wuhan, China. Little did we know that a year on, we’d all be more familiar with Coronaviruses and the impact that they can have on our daily lives.
One of the early steps many companies took in order to attempt to contain the spread of the new virus was to instruct their staff to work from home. Initially people expected this to last a few months at most, so their employers hastily deployed remote working solutions and people quickly had to adapt to the new normal of working from home and living in the office.
At Replify, we took the decision to do this in March. We didn’t expect to still be doing this ten months on and we certainly didn’t expect virus numbers to still be rising they way they currently are.
Initially people had to learn how to work in sub-optimal environments. For example, at their kitchen table with children being homeschooled in the background. The expectation for most was that it would only be for a few months…
SD-WAN for Permanent Home Workers
From an infrastructure point of view, they were maxing out their consumer-grade broadband with constant email and essential work applications such as Slack, Teams and Zoom. All this is being shared with other people at home using services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ (home schooling doesn’t always work out).
Chances are that they are using a VPN client to access the office remotely. In the pre-Covid era, a VPN was sufficient to ensure people could work from home occasionally, but in the Covid era where all staff are working from home all the time, a VPN often doesn’t cut it.
Many SD-WAN providers are now providing “Residential SD-WAN” devices that can be plugged into your home network. These provide benefits such as path selection to ensure your Facebook traffic isn’t being routed via your office, QOS to ensure that the latest Tiktok video isn’t sucking bandwidth away from your important Zoom call, threat protection to ensure others in the household aren’t bringing viruses into the local network and so on.
The benefits of this type of solution are obvious, but the ability to work from home is still limited if you have a poor broadband connection. After all, most people don’t choose where to live based on the infrastructure available to run a home office.
Residential SD-WAN on slow WANs
We’ve talked before about how Replify Accelerator compliments SD-WAN technology. This is even more important with residential SD-WAN which is likely to be deployed on poorer quality links. Replify Accelerator can easily increase the effective bandwidth of these. We can easily port our software to most platforms. We can run easily on the low-spec hardware that is often used for these CPEs. Indeed a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian is one of our supported platforms.
Of course, if your residential SD-WAN device doesn’t support WAN optimization, you can install the Replify Accelerator client on each end user device and increase the effective bandwidth of your home connection.