Juniper offers answer to WAN bottlenecks

Airline customer reports faster application transfers in its wide area network after adopting Juniper's tools.

Bottlenecks like high latency and choked bandwidth between the branch office and headquarters may be a thing of the past, if companies apply the latest WAN optimization techniques, says routing and security company Juniper Networks.

These WAN (wide area network) optimization technologies offer four main benefits: They improve bandwidth, accelerate the movement of applications, maintain the quality of service of the applications that are delivered, and provide reports on the state of the WAN, said Dave Philips, senior product manager of Juniper's WAN acceleration division.

"Applications [delivered] on LANs perform well, but they start to break down when you distribute it across the WAN," he said. "For example, if you opened a few-megabyte word file on the LAN, it takes only a few seconds. But if you're a couple of thousand miles away [from the server], it will take under two minutes to open the file across the WAN."

He added: "Organizations need application delivery on a WAN to be reliable, secure, quick, and predictable. If it doesn't improve, there's going to be an impact on operations."

Even with bandwidth and capacity issues resolved, WANs are inherently affected by high latency. Servers at both ends of an IP network need to communicate as applications are sent, and this slows down the rate at which files are transferred, he explained.

To this end, the latest WAN optimization technologies offered by Juniper focus on getting around the latency issues, he told ZDNet Asia.

Juniper entered the application acceleration market in April, when it acquired startups Peribit Networks, which makes technology that optimizes wide-area network connections, and Redline Networks, a maker of Web acceleration technology. Players in this market include Cisco and F5 Networks.

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, revenues for the Asia-Pacific WAN optimization market are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.2 percent from US$72 million in 2004 to US$803.5 million by 2011.

The research firm defines the WAN optimization market as comprising hardware and software products that compress data, prioritize traffic with QoS (quality of service) policies and perform protocol acceleration.

Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific is one company that has reported improvements in its networks after implementing Juniper's application acceleration technology. Headquartered in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has remote sites in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East.

According to Anthony Dunn, a solution architect at SITA which provides telecom networking services for the airline, users have experienced improvements in the speed of file transfers.

He told ZDNet Asia in a telephone interview: "Users reported that FTP file transfer speeds went down from four minutes to less than one minute, so that was a drastic difference. Speed [improved] for Web-based application transfers, too."