The World Wide Web has become an integral part of our lives. Whether we’re searching for information on the web, shopping online, or watching videos, the Internet plays a vital role in our daily routines. But when it comes to connecting to the Internet, there are many factors that can affect performance. In this article, learn about the different types of WAN Optimizers available, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

What Is a WAN Optimizer?

A WAN optimizer is a device or piece of software that helps optimize your internet connection by reducing latency and packet loss. Latency refers to the time difference between when data leaves the webserver and arrives at your computer. Packet loss occurs when data packets are lost during transmission. These issues cause slow loading times and lower quality streaming.

The other major benefit of WAN Optimizers is that they will reduce data usage on the internet connection, meaning it’s cheaper (if you are on a metered connection) and also frees up valuable bandwidth.

Why You Need One

Having a fast broadband connection alone won’t solve inherent network issues. Packet loss, jitter and latency also play a major part. Take the case of a user in London who is accessing a network node in Sydney. Geographically that’s over 17,000 kilometers in distance and several hundred milliseconds in latency. That’s a noticeable delay in a network connection especially if listening to audio, video etc.

With the move to Software as a Service (SaaS), and to home working, it is often the case that users are far away from their applications, meaning they will suffer from the issues above – slow networks. If you have a slow connection, you might notice laggy audio/video calls, delayed downloads, or dropped packets.

Additionally, if you are on a metered or satellite connection, data costs can be significant. In this case, freeing up bandwidth saves money in addition to improving application performance.

The Different Types of WAN Optimizers

There are two categories of WAN Optimizer devices: hardware and software. Both types of WAN Optimizers work similarly, but there are some key differences between them.

Hardware WAN Optimizer

A hardware appliance is typically a box that would be installed in a server room on site or in a data centre. User connections would be statically routed through this device which would then be connected to a corresponding appliance in the data centre.

Software WAN Optimizer

Software WAN Optimizers like Replify Accelerator are purely software based and can be deployed on existing hardware or in the cloud.

Replify also provides a Mobile WAN Optimizer which can be installed on end user machines such as tablets, PCs and phones.

Choosing the Best WAN Optimizer

Choosing the right WAN Optimizer is dependent on your use case.

Hardware appliances can often be faster and deal with optimizing faster links. However, deployment requires the physical presence of a person on site to unpack the appliance and plug things in.

Over time, maintenance becomes more difficult, especially if requirements change. For example if more users need acceleration or you upgrade to a faster link.

Additionally, hardware appliances tend to be more expensive and harder to distribute to remote sites if there are issues with shipping, customs etc.

Software appliances are more flexible. You can download them electronically and install them on non-specialist hardware or existing hypervisors. For example, you can download a Replify Accelerator instance and be up and running within half an hour. That isn’t possible with a hardware based appliance.

Additionally, they are much easier to scale if requirements increase. For example, with Replify Accelerator you can deploy multiple virtual appliances to work alongside each other.

Replify Accelerator also provides the Mobile Client which means remote workers or those working from home will benefit from an accelerated internet connection regardless of location. Being software based, the optimization provided by the Mobile Client uses exactly the same techniques as a Virtual Appliance located in the data centre.

Why not contact Replify to see how we can help you chose your WAN Optimizer?