Cisco Intelligent WAN or IWAN is a solution from Cisco to optimize and better utilize your branch WAN connectivity. It addresses several aspects of WAN concerns like cost, security and application experience. There are many challenges that IT is facing today in the enterprise world and I would like to address the top three in this blog post.
1. Business Continuity
- Apps that are deployed at the branch are considered to be business critical and users are becoming more demanding for a better experience. Most WAN links are stressed and suffering from brownouts, which is technically challenging to detect. IT knows how to handle WAN blackouts, but with video and delay sensitive applications, brownouts are the real enemy. Brownouts are very hard to detect on time to save user experience and usually detected and reported to IT by the end user that was impacted from it. The IWAN component that is addressing this problem is Performance Routing (PfR). PfR is constantly checking both WAN link that you have at your branch and choosing the best path for the traffic flow automatically and on the fly, this way you always get the best possible WAN link at any given time.
2. Internet Breakout at the Branch
- SaaS apps usage is growing at the branch. If you don’t have any SaaS app or think you can avoid it much longer, you need to re-think your IT strategy. SaaS together with BYOD are the two biggest trends that are driving IT infrastructure upgrades these days. So what is the challenge? Simple. SaaS apps require internet connectivity to work, and the faster the internet the better user experience you will get. There is no point on sending your SaaS traffic over the expensive MPLS WAN link to your Data Center just to send it to the internet from there. This type of design will just degrade SaaS app experience (due to longer delay) and load your expensive MPLS line. The answer is Internet breakout at the branch: Cisco Intelligent WAN with Cloud Web Security (CWS) will ensure that your security policies from your Data Center are enforced over the Internet line and enable your branch to leverage local internet for those SaaS apps.
3. Faster Time to Market
- When your business is in need to add a new branch or a temporary branch like a Point of Sale, construction site or remote office, you have two options. 1. Wait anywhere between a few days to a few weeks until you get a wired line of MPLS to your Data Center. 2. Build your own VPN network over the top and leverage 3G/4G LTE technology to build a DMVPN to your Data Center. 3G/4G LTE technology that is enterprise grade and build to support the branch needs is a very quick and cost effective way to start working from day one. We see customers that use that technology as their main WAN connectivity and also as a backup line. The beauty of it is that it’s so flexible that you can design it to meet almost any need. With 4G LTE we even see customers that use it for VoIP and video, pretty much the same as you would use your smartphone.
That’s it. These are the three challenges that I wanted to showcase here to demonstrate how Cisco Intelligent WAN can help your business become more Flexible, Reliable and Effective.