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In multi-site enterprises, where critical IP-based services and applications are being delivered to users distributed across several branch offices, the importance of a capable and high performing WAN infrastructure is clear. Given its nature, the WAN is often a traffic bottleneck and usually attracts blame when application performance does not meet end-user expectations – whether it is actually culpable or not. IT leaders should recognize the practical value of employing monitoring tools to help manage both WAN performance and organizational expectations.
The Network: Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Network managers know that, while various other factors may be involved – many of which are uncontrollable – the network is usually the most maligned component of the application delivery infrastructure. End users may be more forgiving, or at least unaware, of protocol-level inefficiencies that inherently make many LAN-based applications perform poorly over higher latency WANs. Similarly, other less understood factors that can affect end-to-end performance, such as security-related traffic operations, are given a free pass. However, branch office users will generally attribute poor performance to a substandard, “slow” network.