The trouble with Bandwidth

August 19, 2015

Have you ever sat in standstill on the M1 and thought to yourself why are there are only 3 lanes, why not 4? Or even 5? Surely that would ease congestion! The problem is, as with anything, the M1 was designed for its day (when it was laid in 1959). We create things to solve our current problem, not a problem that might be.

Similarly when wide area networks (WAN) evolved they weren’t to cope with the digital revolution or our insatiable appetite for information today and unfortunately (like the M1) our routes are becoming congested.

The fact that we have congested networks means we are often thinking about increasing our bandwidth. Whilst it may be argued that there is no one solution, there is the capability to send data once (and once only) that combats the traditional issues of WAN congestion.

We must begin to move away from the common approach of simply moving to bigger leased pipes as this does not solve the real network issues and is at inflated cost. Instead of avoiding the real issue and paying more why don’t we simply optimize our WAN?

We could (in some cases) tangibly reduce throughput by 90% or more! In turn, that is probably going to mean mitigating latency and consistency of application performance for all within our organisations – and who doesn’t want an organisation full of happy workers?

The good news is that WAN technologies are rapidly improving. With the use of state of the art ‘byte’ de-duplication, plus packet order correction and forward error correction software, we can achieve greater throughput and practically eliminate the effect of latency.
The first step is to lose the term ‘bandwidth’ because it implies we always need more, when in reality; there are simpler more effective solutions out there. Implementing optimisation software readily shows that, most of what we currently use is wasted because we are constantly sending and re-sending the same data.

‘Sending data once’ is a concept we should seek to embrace. WAN technologies are available now to help us improve our virtual motorways and get information to our outliers quickly, without 50mph limits, cones and detours.


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