Tips on reducing network complexity

Tips on reducing network complexity


A computer network can be termed as a hive of computers in which one central computer or a specific group of computers controls and manages all the other computers interconnected into a network.
 
Networks are usually classified on their scale such as: Personal area network (PAN), local area network (LAN), home area network, wide area network (WAN), global area network (GAN), virtual private network (VPN), internet, intranet, extranet and many more.
 
In order to transfer data within the network, protocols are implemented. Internet Protocol Suite (commonly known as TCP/IP) is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks. Networks can also be defined based on the protocols, for example if a network uses Internet Protocol (IP) for communicating data than it is also referred to as IP network.
 
Managing a network is not a simple task. Network management which includes the installation, configuration, provisioning, monitoring, testing, debugging processes require detailed knowledge of many different network components, each with its own management interface. Companies have to deploy a host of tools and sophisticated network packages for managing the networks.
 
A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a computer network used to exchange information over a wide geographical area. Companies use to WANs to link geographically dispersed sites allowing them to effortlessly communicate with their partners or employees around the globe. In many countries their respective public telecommunications companies control and maintain WANs as it offers secure and fast data transmission between the different nodes in the network.
 
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For implementing a WAN several options are available some of the prominent options are: leased lines, ISDN, Frame Relay, Ethernet, MPLS and ATM.
 
It is said that though WAN has become a vital part in most companies’ computational infrastructure the cost and complexity involved in making the WAN work more optimally is more complicated and expensive. Because of the complexities many networks perform at sub-standard levels which decrease productivity. Also if a company had deployed WAN using leased lines than it also becomes more expensive to maintain.
 
If a company hopes to achieve a secure and productive WAN environment then it has to address a number of security, performance, and productivity issues. The complexities in the network coupled with the growing demand for bandwidth will only make the network more congested. In order to increase the network’s response time, database bottlenecks have to be reduced. This is achieved by WAN optimisation. WAN performance can be increased by using acceleration techniques such as SSL offloading, compression, caching, traffic prioritization, and redirection.
 
The increase in the usage of voice, video and collaboration based apps has also led to the higher bandwidth demands. If a WAN is built using SONET or ATM methods the protocol conversion that takes place at each end of the circuit also causes network latency. Users can overcome this by employing Ethernet in their WAN because Ethernet’s entire network topology uses the same technology which removes the latency.
 
Usually a central management system monitors and manages all the devices that compose a network. Adding more applications and segments into the network also increases the complexity of the network. The managing system should be able to scale accordingly in order to nullify the additional network complication.
 
IP networks are designed to handle hundreds of applications with varying characteristics. Applications like data replication and backup requiremoving massive amounts of information on high-capacity WAN links. And one major problem that occurs at high bandwidth WAN connections is packet loss. Packet loss and out-of-order packets have to be addressed separately and thoroughly as these issues can severely limit effective throughput, regardless of the actual size of the WAN link. A WAN must be designed to handle these issues and it can be done by employing recovery techniques such as packet re-ordering and adaptive FEC.
 
By maintaining a less complex network, enterprises can increase their productivity and return on investments and offer enhanced services to their customers.
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