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IWAN Wed: What is Intelligent WAN?

Imagine that you have several branch offices that are using WAN demanding applications like Salesforce.com, Office 365, Virtual Desktops, Video Teleconferencing and more.  You are using those expensive MPLS/VPN WAN connections as you don’t want to risk it and probably because when you started to work there it was already there and … why mess around with something that is working, right?  Normally I would agree with that but when IT budgets are shrinking and the network needs to step up and support those business critical apps, there is no other way but to innovate.

At any given time your network carries information from LAN to WAN and vice versa, some is important and some is less important. In many cases as a network admin you don’t have the visibility to distinguish between them, so what do you do when those critical apps are starting to act up? Usually the answer will be to buy more WAN bandwidth and that will give the apps and the user experience behind them some breathing space. But all you’re doing is buying time.  Buying time never solves the problem because you will need to treat the symptoms again in a few weeks or months.

However, you can solve the problem and not just treat the symptoms using Cisco Intelligent WAN or IWAN for short.

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IWAN Wed: Get 2X Bandwidth with PfR

AN33345As part of our IWAN series, I wanted to provide a deeper dive into PfR. Why PfR? It is a fundamental feature that helps customers protect critical apps while increasing bandwidth utilization. I think it is fair to say, every organization can benefit tremendously from this powerful capability.

PfR or Performance Routing is a feature that complements traditional IP routing protocols by adding application intelligence when making routing decisions. Why do we need application intelligence? Routers forward data packets based on their routing tables which are built using dynamic routing protocols such as RIP and OSPF to calculate the shortest path to the destination for the data packets. RIP and OSPF do not look into data packets to determine the type of application they belong to when making routing decisions. As a result if the application is time sensitive like voice over IP (VOIP) or bandwidth intensive like a file backup data packets are treated with the same priority and will be sent over the same route until they reach their destination. This can create problems if you have a single WAN link since a file backup could consume all bandwidth preventing voice packets from passing in a timely manner and impacting the quality of the voice call. QoS or Quality of Service can help to prioritize data on a single link but you may ultimately need more bandwidth.

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IWAN Wed: How Glue Networks Improves the IWAN Experience with PfR

Network optimization is a touchy subject for many in the IT world, and a particularly thorny issue for the Wide Area Network (WAN). The idea that the network architecture as designed cannot meet the needs of tomorrow is the cause of much discussion, anxiety and in some cases, gnashing of teeth. However, the reality is that the rate of change of applications and ways the WAN is utilized is accelerating, and the methods of designing, testing, implementing and troubleshooting of today are not keeping pace. In addition, traditional services offered throughout the WAN only offer a partial view of the capabilities of what may be available.

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Cisco ISR-AX is Now a Part of the Integrated Services Router Family!

On March 12thCisco announced the ISR-AX and how Cisco is changing the game, reducing complexity and making it simpler for enterprises to deliver and manage application delivery to users. Cisco is expanding the role of our Integrated Service Routers (ISRs) to deliver application-centric networks that provide granular visibility, control, and optimization without additional devices or bandwidth upgrades -- Cisco® Application Experience (AX) Router family is now a part of the ISR family of routers!  The Cisco ISR-AX Routers directly integrate Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS), Application Visibility and Control (AVC), Data/IPBase and Security services into a platform that is simple to order, configure, and deploy for secure, optimized cloud connectivity and branch-office routing.  The Cisco ISR G2 and ISR-AX Routers are based on the same hardware and software that you know and love and are deploying today. Today I wanted to go into the technical details of each of the components. Read More »

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Are You Ready for Performance Routing?

I have been working for Cisco for over 15 years, much of that time as a Consulting Engineer for Routing and Switching. 

I understand strengths and weakness of routing, the value of a good hierarchical design…. But what’s worse than having an end-user having problems with one of his business application and being unable to provide an answer? Yes we have traceroute, ping and other fancy networking tools but nowadays we have to deal with applications and user experience. We have to move forward and take into account the performance of an application rather than just forwarding packets based on static cost metrics. It’s not just about connectivity anymore.

Therefore I’ve moved to the Application Visibility and Control (AVC) group in Engineering. It’s like jumping from standard L3 to advanced L4-L7 kind of routing.

I know what you may be thinking when you read these lines … yet another new acronym. We have the good old routing protocols, why should I care about this new AVC? Read More »

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