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7 Tips to Reduce
Network Congestion
7 Tips to Reduce Network Congestion
Todays enterprise networks are facing unprecedented demands streaming video, employee-owned mobile
devices, and collaboration tools are all contributing to far more trafc than email, FTP and general web surfng
produced just a few years ago. When you consider that business IP trafc is projected to increase at a compound
annual growth rate of 21% from 2012 to 2017 thats faster than IP WAN (13%) but only a fraction of the
projected growth rate for mobile business Internet (59%). As more devices enter the network and generate these
forecasted levels of activity, the corporate IT environment will only get harder to manage.
What does this mean for IT administrators? Increased usage leads to networks that are congested and cant scale,
and frustrated end users who just want their applications to perform better and faster. IT managers responsible
for solving network congestion problems often resort to one of three approaches: adding bandwidth,
accelerating network trafc, or cutting of access to applications believed to be causing congestion.
Adding bandwidth can address the issue, but its a short-term fx that creates two problems. First, because
network usage continues to increase, IT budgets also continue to increase in perpetuity, which isnt sustainable.
Second, increases in bandwidth demand have outpaced decreases in bandwidth cost. Just adding bandwidth
treats all applications the same from strategic business apps to visits to YouTube. In efect, network
administrators are funding the increases in recreational trafc, which only temporarily and partially solves
the congestion problem.
Another common approach is application acceleration. Some companies invest in solutions that accelerate
everything on the network, including unwanted and unproductive recreational trafc. Just like adding more
bandwidth, this approach treats all trafc the same. In a sense, businesses are spending money to improve not
only the speed of their critical applications, but their recreational applications as well.
Finally, cutting of access to applications believed to be causing congestion is not feasible either. Sure, you will
want to control users watching cat videos on YouTube, however, the CEO could also be utilizing video for a demo
on the fscal results call. Treating all users and use cases the same is a partial, inelegant solution at best.
To reduce network congestion without funding inefcient solutions or imposing heavy-handed restrictions
on users, companies need to manage trafc across fve key dimensions of the network users, apps, devices,
locations, and activities. Doing so enables network managers to create specifc policies that optimize and protect
the performance of business-critical applications, white limiting the impact of recreational trafc. By taking this
approach, network managers can reclaim bandwidth for strategic applications and reduce overall network costs.
Below are seven tips you can add to your network management
toolkit today to reduce network congestion:
1. Look into the network: Whats the problem? Whos causing it?
The frst step in solving congestion problems and improving network performance is determining whats causing
the congestion. Find out which applications are in use, how much trafc is generated by each, and decide how
important these applications are to the needs of the business.
Identify whether there are high trafc periods during the day or month and whether some applications have
special quality of service requirements. Without an accurate understanding of current trafc on the network, any
action to relieve congestion will only be a guess.
7 Tips to Reduce Network Congestion
2. Reduce trafc via caching
Cache frequently accessed web objects locally so only new ones are downloaded. If multiple requests are made
for the same objects multiple times, overall bandwidth consumption increases. For instance, patch bundles or
software upgrades can be downloaded from an external site once, and subsequent requests will beneft from
proximity. Multiple users attempting to download the same fle can seriously impact network performance and
take away from business-critical applications. Using caching strategically can improve performance and lower
bandwidth utilization.
3. Control Recreational Traffic
Place limits on the amount of recreational trafc that can be consumed during work hours. You can still allow
access to recreational sites, but give priority to business applications. Even if your companys web policy allows
personal and recreational use, non-business content can become an unneeded burden on the network. Through
real time monitoring and policy-based shaping, network resources can be assured for business-critical needs.
4. Time-shift your network
Are certain applications regularly used at defned times? Create policies that refect this, and shift network
resources to these applications as needed. Analysis of the applications in use and the nature of the trafc they
generate can uncover groups that compete for scarce resources and indicate whether they would beneft from
simple scheduling changes. For instance, backup windows could be adjusted to prevent interfering with batch
data transfers or replication transports. This reduction in network contention can signifcantly improve end-to-
end performance and usability.
5. Dont treat all business trafc the same
Categorize trafc into three buckets:
Reputational: items that would have a direct impact on current or future business, based on customer
perceptions about availability and performance.
Revenue-afecting: Items that would prevent or decrease the amount or rate of income, whether based
on sales or production/fulfllment.
Mission-critical internal: Items that are necessary to support functions not purely customer-facing or
proft-generating but that are needed for daily operations and ongoing business functions.
Reputational trafc should be the initial focus, but not to the detriment of the remaining trafc.
6. Manage and prioritize at a user level
Determine who the user is and what application is being used. Is the CEO using videoconferencing to speak to
key investors? Where is the user? Is he logged in remotely?
7. After analyzing trafc on the network, create an intelligent policy
Allocate network resources based on a predetermined set of criteria. For instance, during the hour that the CEO
is making a video-conferencing call, 40% of the organizations available bandwidth might be allocated to the call,
while 15% is allocated to a marketing video and the other 45% is dedicated to other activities.
7 Tips to Reduce Network Congestion
Exinda is a leading global supplier of WAN solutions that enables
organizations to assure a predictable user experience for strategic
business applications through policy-based WAN orchestration. Exinda
solutions intelligently allocate network bandwidth and optimize trafc based
on the priorities of the business. The company has helped more than 3,500
organizations in over 80 countries worldwide assure application performance,
improve the end-user experience, contain recreational applications and reduce
network operating costs for the IT executive.
For more information, please visit http://www.exinda.com.
About Exinda
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Copyright 2014, Exinda Networks Inc.
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WAN Performance Is Critical
As the networks importance as a strategic business asset has grown, its also gotten a lot more difcult to manage.
Networks are far more complex today than ever before, and the top problems IT departments deal with on a daily
basis are much harder to solve. In fact, 34% of IT managers say troubleshooting network problems like alleviating
congestion is their biggest challenge today. Eliminating network congestion begins with implementing an
intelligent network management tool that can monitor and analyze trafc patterns on the network in real time.
Despite the need for this functionality, only 35% of IT managers have invested in such a tool, while 81% have
increased bandwidth capacity.
Some IT managers have turned to WAN optimization appliances in an attempt to reduce network congestion and
improve network performance via compression and acceleration techniques. However, a tool that was designed
10 years ago that only focuses on making the network faster is not enough to solve network congestion problems
today. WAN optimization solutions were not built to manage streaming video, mobile devices, or cloud-based
apps, all of which add to this growing network congestion problem.
To efectively solve todays pressing IT problems, network managers must move beyond traditional WAN
optimization appliances and implement WAN orchestration solutions to repair network issues and deliver reliable
user experiences.
Orchestration solutions bring together all the most important features a WAN solution needs to solve complex
problems and makes them work in harmony. By combining analytics, purpose-built reports, a recommendation
engine and power actions like trafc shaping and application acceleration all in one platform, IT managers can
quickly pinpoint the source of delays and poor application response times, to resolve these issues quickly and
restore optimal service for end users.
For more information
To learn more about how you can orchestrate network resources to reduce congestion, please contact us to
speak with our team of network experts: