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Bandwidth Management is now a critical

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Bandwidth management is now a critical part of any organization’s connectivity strategy. It is defined as the processes, products and policies designed to ensure optimal results for both public Internet access and private link such as MPLS. Bandwidth management consists of managing all carrier links and how traffic flows through them, with the right strategy for continuity when disaster hits.

To deliver consistent bandwidth management, the most appropriate devices are Link Balancers, defined as network-based appliances that have the capabilities needed to fully manage bandwidth, and multiple ISP or private links. In a majority of situations, these devices are typically installed between the firewall and modems and/or routers.

Some of the functions that Link Balancers provide are: link failover, which allows for one or more links to take over in place of a faulty ISP link until service returns to normal; outbound traffic balancing, which enables the link balancer to delegate traffic coming from the organization and going across various links that work in conjunction with organizational preferences; inbound traffic balancing, which is, in essence, a link balancer able to distribute incoming traffic across all chosen links; and session persistence management, which is when certain types of traffic including SIP (VoIP), HTTPS (secure web site access) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) cannot be balanced. Most organizations with a Link Balancer will use outbound balancing for VPN clients as well.

According to Elfiq Networks, the leading provider of bandwidth management technology such as Link Balancers, the benefits associated with implementing these solutions are bountiful. First, business continuity is easily attainable as the use of many ISP links simultaneously creates a dramatically increased connection speed. This then helps the organization to be able to handle online activities, even in cases when certain ISPs are not working. Crucial processes such as web surfing, VPN access and voice traffic will always remain intact and business operations can continue without any adverse affects. Second, productivity is increased as the ability to run multiple links directly through one Link Balancer allows for a business to complete multiple activities such as uploading and downloading in a short period of time. Third, cost is greatly reduced due to the fact that downtime is virtually eliminated and employees can continue their work even if a link ceases to work. Fourth, help desk are decreased because Internet access will continue to work under various circumstances and users will no longer need assistance. Fifth, sales departments will gain traction as prospective employees have continuous access to the company’s website and their product offerings. If a website is rendered as functioning improperly, a customer can quickly lose interest and instead travel to a different competing organization.

When building a bandwidth management strategy, a diverse combination of ISP technologies can yield significant advantages and it is recommended to choose ISps with different carrier technologies. T1/E1/fibre circuits are very popular within organizations and offer symmetrical bandwidth. In addition, these ISPs come complete with SLAs that provide increased uptime. DSLs on the other hand are lower in cost than many ISP links. The most common type is ADSL which allows for increased download speeds. Cable modems power increased download speeds as well and usually operate on a parallel physical network so if a carrier’s network stops functioning normally, the second one will be available to take over the operation. With fixed wireless carriers, services have the potential to reach up to 100Mbps.

Mobile networks allow for 3G mobile telephony services and give organizations access to the Internet or other services, if in the case where wired providers become inactive. WiMax and LTE offer increased performance functions over 3G networks, while utilities’ ISP links offer another type of bandwidth distribution, either through electrical grids or fibre through natural gas pipelines. These ISPs can even act as an alternative network in situations where ISPs fail. Satellite links are prevalent all over the globe, which makes them a great option when either geography or local ISPs are major obstacles but throughput is limited while latency is high.

Originally posted at: http://bandwidth-management.tmcnet.com/articles/235636-what-bandwidth-management.htm

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