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Over the weekend I had a brief twitter chat with someone who mentioned he had been wondering ‘what the heck is IWAN?’ (I’m paraphrasing here) and hadn’t been able to find anything on it.  Besides asking the obvious -- why he hadn’t asked me or @CiscoEnterprise about it -- I thought I’d put together a brief on IWAN.  Here, you’ll find the top 7 items to get you started learning about IWAN.  Also, just wanted to put in a plug for Cisco Champions for Enterprise Networks - you can still nominate yourself or a colleague and one of the perks is that we’ll be making sure to do briefs and/or deep-dives on our solutions with Cisco Champions so you’re in the know.

First, what is the “I” in IWAN? Intelligent.  (The I doesn’t refer to “i” as the Pods, Pads, and Phones and should be written upper case, not lower.) We’re calling the capability to use both internet and MPLS for your WAN as Intelligent WAN (IWAN).  This idea comes as a result of the confluence of the forces hitting *right now* you’ve probably already heard about that I’ll may over simplify.  Skip to the pretty list if need be or check out this intro to the CVDs that has 5 great use cases for IWAN on pages 2 and 3.

On the “Ack! I need more, better bandwidth” side we have BYOD, the rise of more complex apps and usages on those Ds, the movement of employee resources (Soylent corp is people!) from predominantly at the headquarters to working in branch offices, and generally stagnant WAN IT budgets. On the “groovy, some things that might make life more awesome” side we have decreasing costs for internet access and generally more reliable internet connections such as Business Internet.  So with those forces, we’re suggesting that it can be both cost effective and feasible to dynamically route traffic over MPLS and/or business Internet WAN links based on the type of app, endpoint, and other conditions.  And yeah, Cisco’s  got the technology to help you do that.

The Pretty List:  You can learn as little (starting at the top) or much (all the way through to 7) as you want about IWAN with these options:

  1. Super-High-Level: A professional video with a voiceover!

  1. High-Level: IWAN At A Glance (AAG). AAGs are meant to be short overviews of a product or solution and this one is just that. Also, please note you can find even more documentation on cisco.com/go/iwan.
  1. Blogs on IWAN and on the evolving relationship with Akamai:
    1. Designing the Next Generation Branch for Business Impact
    2. Using the Internet for Your Enterprise WAN
    3. Another “Better Together” Combination: Cisco and Akamai
  2. IWAN Ecosystem:  One of the companies we’ve worked with extensively on IWAN is Akamai.  We like their Unified Performance with our ISR-AX and ASR-AX routers platforms.  Here is a whitepaper on Cisco/Akamai solution:  Cisco IWAN and Akamai Intelligent Platform™: Maximize Your WAN Investment
  1. Two webinars on demand: On the Cisco Enterprise Networks Communities Webinar Page please check out How Smarter Branches Lower Costs and Be an IT Hero: Three Ways to Increase IT Impact on the Business
  1. One upcoming webinar: Extending Your Branch Office to the Cloud! January 9, 2014 at 8am Pacific.  Register and put it in your calendar.
  1. Cisco Validated Designs: These actually just came out last Friday (Dec 20) so if you’re reading this now (at the cold end of December), you’re probably getting a scoop on your peers.  Here is the landing page for the IWAN CVDs. And, even better, Remote Sites Using Local Internet Access Technology Design Guide.

I hope you enjoyed this collection of links on IWAN.  If you have been pining for more information on IWAN or any of our other Cisco solutions I suggest you consider joining Cisco Champions for Enterprise Networks or just show up to one of our webinars!

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3 Comments.


  1. Maher Abdelshkour

    This is really very informative, thanks a lot, Lauren Friedman!

       1 like

  2. Good collection of information on this solution, thank you. Is there any more in depth documentation on the integration with Akamai Unified Performance? The current documentation only states that it is a proposed solution.

       1 like

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