Advantages and Disadvantages of the Accelerated
Computer networks have existed for over 50 years. According to the Computer History Museum, the first commercial modem, AT&T’s Dataphone, was introduced in 1960. This product converted digital computer data into analog acceleration signals that could be transmitted across AT&T’s long distance network. Soon thereafter, third party developers incorporated AT&T’s technologies into their own products. The development of equalization techniques and bandwidth-conserving modulation systems improved transmission efficiency in national and global systems.(1)
What is Network / WAN Acceleration?
Today’s networks carry an unprecedented amount of multimedia data and are under extreme pressure to do so with ease and finesse. For example, users expect to be able to view high resolution videos instantly; they upload and share documents and files on a regular basis using both the corporate WAN as well as remote connections and mobile devices; they use the Internet to hold video and voice chats. Workers rely on cloud-based software, storage systems, and even desktops. Today’s end-users need reliable, high performance networks more than ever.
Network, or WAN, acceleration involves optimizing networks for performance as well as optimizing applications running over long distance networks. Common forms of network acceleration involve using what’s known as a WAN accelerator. WAN accelerators are network appliances (either hardware, software, or virtual) that use application proxies, compression and data deduplication techniques, together with generalized TCP optimization technology to optimize the flow of data transmitted across the WAN. Rather than sending duplicated objects and packets, WAN accelerators cache the duplicates and reference them.
How Network Acceleration is Evolving
Network acceleration technology has evolved over time. Additional functions have been added to WAN Optimization controllers that add network protocol optimization to the mix. For example, Common Internet File System (CIFS) and HTTP can be optimized, reducing unnecessary “chatter” and speeding transmission.
Application delivery controllers are often used to optimize the server-side experience. These network accelerators use static caching, load balancing, and other techniques to manage network traffic spikes.
What’s Next in Network Acceleration?
It looks as though network acceleration is continuing its evolution.