Unified Bandwidth Management

What is Unified Bandwidth Management?

Network optimization is fast becoming a must for organizations looking to improve wide-area network performance without greatly increasing monthly costs. Ironically, companies that focus on optimization are always looking for ways to add even more throughput, Quality of Service, and load balancing. Unified Bandwidth Management (UBM) is the latest innovation in WAN connectivity. A Unified Bandwidth Management device combines Dynamic Bandwidth Management (Traffic Shaping) with WAN Optimization functionality. This combination provides a unique set of features not typically found in either a packet shaping or pure WAN optimization or WAN virtualization device.

Unified Bandwidth Management also incorporates the ability to combine multiple bandwidth management features into a single appliance. These features generally include networking shaping, network load balancing, and site-to-site network optimization technologies. The UBM platforms are unique in that they combine these features with multiple WAN interfaces to provide network reliability and greater bandwidth management capabilities.

UBM Elements

The three main aspects of unified bandwidth management include: network load balancing, traffic shaping, and site-to-site optimization

MultiWAN Traffic shaping enables organizations to prioritize applications with 12 levels of prioritization and other user traffic, thus ensuring critical traffic has preferential access to network bandwidth over noncritical traffic, he says. Enhanced QoS capabilities include the ability to shape traffic based on up to 12 DiffServ categories including Express Forwarding, Minimized-Delay, Maximized-Throughput, Maximized-Reliability, and four levels of packet prioritization (Class One, Class Two, Class Three, and Class Four), which are generally supported by other packet prioritization networks, he says.

MultiWAN Network load balancing (NLB) enables organizations to distribute network traffic over two or more WAN connections and thus increase overall network bandwidth, which effectively speeds up critical applications, Hourani says. NLB also provides the added benefit of network reliability in the event that one of the WAN links should fail. When a WAN failure occurs, the NLB functionality will automatically reroute network traffic over the remaining active links without the requirement of complex routing protocols like BGP (Border Gateway Protocol).

MultiWAN Optimization (or VPN Virtualization) enables organizations to extend application reliability, speed, and QoS to remote and/or branch offices. With the ability to set up multiple tunnels between sites and then bond the site-to-site connections, S2SXL can load balance traffic across two or more tunnels, reroute site-to-site traffic in the event of a WAN outage, and prioritize site-to-site traffic based on application type as it traverses between the remote sites. Companies can also employ data compression with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) tuning and forward error correction to reduce the size of the data packets traversing the tunnel and thus increase overall application responsiveness.

How Enterprises Can Use UBM?

Critical application acceleration. UBM speeds up most commonly used applications or applications that drive the business. This process involves portioning to increase bandwidth for mission-critical applications.

Control end-user bandwidth access. UBM uses a user monitoring system to reduce speeds for noncritical users and increase bandwidth for applications that need it most. This shaping results in rate limits for noncritical uses.

Inexpensive bandwidth multiplier. Multiplying bandwidth is another benefit, which has little impact on the network infrastructure. Bandwidth reallocation occurs seamlessly and without introducing new protocols or ISP coordination.

Network redundancy. UBM adds network redundancy to manage bandwidth as well. In addition to the increased speed delivered by multiple WAN links, the Edge platform will automatically provide network redundancy between each link so that in the event of a network outage, the remaining active links will ensure continuous WAN connectivity.

Improve remote application responsiveness. The XOS platform uses S2SXL tunneling to optimize site-to-site connectivity with added security protocols such as 3DES encryption. Sessions are distributed over multiple tunnels, thus making packet interception up to 10 times more difficult.