• United States

Making WANs more LAN-like

Jul 06, 20042 mins

* Compression makes WANs more like LANs

Several members of the bandwidth-optimization crowd have recently made announcements. These are the vendors that compress, cache, shape and otherwise help you improve the performance of applications that were often initially developed to run over high-speed LANs, and make them work in the bandwidth-constrained and less predictable WAN.

Last week, for example, Peribit and Expand Networks made announcements in the areas of compression, while Packeteer unveiled monitoring and reporting tools for VoIP and Multi-protocol Label Switching networks.

One of Peribit’s announcements was a compression appliance, the SR-100, which compresses high-speed LAN traffic en route to the WAN so it can squeeze through 155M bit/sec OC-3 connections on WAN access routers.

Accounting for different traffic types and their level of compressibility, the average compression ratio the box achieves from LAN to WAN is 2:1. Without compression, TCP will generally throttle back communications between networks to the speed of the slowest interface.  Peribit’s SR-100 now chops that performance hit in half, explains Amit Sing, Peribit’s CTO. In other words, 300M bit/sec worth of LAN data can now be squeezed off the 155M bit/sec WAN edge.

“Sometimes the speeds are higher; 400M or 500M bit/sec can be compressed to 155M bit/sec,” Sing says. “But the 300M bit/sec is a good, conservative average accounting for various kinds of traffic types.”

The appliance, intended for data center applications, can support 2,000 remote sites, according to Peribit.

Note that Peribit competitor Expand Networks has a similar offering for OC-3-equipped data centers that it shipped last January. Its Accelerator System 9000 compresses incoming traffic from gigabit-speed LANs at ratios as high as 10:1 for transmission from outbound WAN links running at speeds from 20M to 200M bit/sec. The 9000 supports 1,400 remote sites from one platform, according to Ariel Shulman, vice president of marketing and business development.

Also of note: All U.S. military agencies have deployed Expand Accelerators, which also perform Triple-DES/AES data encryption, the company announced last week. Expand says 3,000 Accelerators have been deployed through the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.