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Enterprise WAN Challenges


The network is critical to the operation and innovation in the enterprise because it lets employees, suppliers, and customers access new applications and services. As networks have become faster and more robust to support the current and next generation business applications, complexity and cost have also grown.

Growth in the WAN segment has introduced key challenges to the enterprise, including deployment ease, flexibility, and scalability. How does the enterprise deploy and operate a WAN easily while ensuring that the components implemented are future proof and can scale to meet future demands? Other challenges lie in not only enabling cloud services, but also the recent technological advancements in multi-cloud and edge compute.

Companies are increasingly looking to cloud service providers to augment their business, and a WAN that can enable this agility is essential to success. Adding services and devices to meet this challenge increases the total cost of ownership of the WAN and can have an effect on the bottom line.

Once installed, a new challenge is management of the WAN. The network should be easy to manage—addressing this challenge is particularly problematic as the complexity of the network increases. Finally, the WAN should be services ready. A WAN implementation must support technologies that enable future growth and the addition of value-added services.

The key challenges of WAN deployments are:

  • Ease of deployment and management along with flexibility and scalability. The enterprise WAN consists of geographically dispersed sites of various size and purpose. This dispersion and difference of purpose can be addressed by introducing a common network that excels at carrying traffic of varying importance between sites as well as between partners and third-party support organizations.

    Deployment of a single WAN architecture is not enough. The technology used to enable the WAN network should also have common factors. Equipment that shares the same operating system can be more easily migrated to more robust platforms as needs dictate. Having a single operating system throughout the network also makes it easier to introduce new services and configurations, as the same configuration can migrate wherever it is needed.

  • Ensuring that cloud services are easily adopted. The drive to reduce costs combined with the need to provide a high-quality user experience often collide and cause business needs to come second to the need to control expense.

    An answer to this conflict is found in the adoption of cloud services. An effective enterprise WAN enables a robust and high-quality connection to the data center through a direct connection to a cloud data center. Meeting this challenge is critical in controlling cost while enhancing user experience.

  • Ensuring that the network is services ready. The network should be designed to be flexible, scalable, resilient, and secure as these characteristics are all requirements of any service-ready network. An effective architecture is modular in nature, allowing the addition of new services to the enterprise WAN such as VPN, Network Address Translation (NAT), and stateful firewall services. In addition, the enterprise WAN should support implementation of value-added services such as WAN acceleration and content caching.