A new study by Aryaka, which offers WAN optimization as a service, network as a service and other solutions, suggests that while first- and last-mile broadband links may be improving, the infrastructure in the middle may be in the most trouble.
Many companies focus on the last mile, which is the piece that customers most often interact with because it brings interconnectivity into their homes or businesses, points out Jeff Vance, head of marketing at Aryaka. But, it’s the middle ground where a lack of investment exists, he says, pointing to telecom vendors that not interested in building common infrastructure.
Yet, with the global demand on bandwidth continuing to climb, it’s the middle piece that will continue to be so essential, Vance claims.
For its study, “State of the Enterprise WAN 2015,” Aryaka anonymized enterprise WAN traffic from 3,000 of its customer sites. The findings show that in North America, bandwidth demands grew a mean 190 percent over the past year, but this demand was even more appreciable in other regions. For example, traffic increased a mean 399 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) over the past year.
Globally, software proved to be a main driver behind the increase, with demand jumping a mean 307 percent over the past year, according to the study. However, this was not far above the mean 296 percent increase in demand in the manufacturing industry.
Although anecdotal, two of the main factors contributing to growing demand in software are an increase in software development moving overseas and an economy that continues to move toward globalization, according to Vance.
The report also shows that bandwidth demand grew in the computer hardware, financial and technology sectors, but not as significantly as it did in software and manufacturing.
WAN Link Speed Is a Key Factor
Another key point of the study was that 26 percent of Aryaka’s access sites, including branch offices, had a WAN link speed of about 10Mbps, although some reached as high as 100 Mbps, while others had less than 2Mbps. EMEA countries had the highest percentage of high-speed access last-mile WAN links—equal to or greater than 10 Mbps—but were seen as falling behind in terms of very high-speed WAN links, which are those greater than 40 Mbps.
EMEA countries may look worse when compared with other parts of the world, particularly Asia-Pacific countries, where money is being poured into infrastructure. “China is building out business parks around high-speed Internet at the core,” says Vance, while other APAC countries, such as Singapore and South Korea, are also making significant investments in infrastructure.
When it comes to WAN optimization, data reduction can be important, but some protocols prove better at compression than others, according to the study. It shows that the Common Internet File System (CIFS), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Perforce can result in bandwidth usage savings of 50 percent or greater on Aryaka’s network, whole others don’t achieve such effective savings.
Shehzad Karkhanawala, product marketing manager at Aryaka, explains that data reduction is important due to speed-of-light limitations. However, by compressing data, more can be pushed out. “This circumvents the speed-of-light limitations,” he says.
Finally, the report found that about 15 percent of Aryaka customers are accelerating their access to cloud services, primarily to improve application performance. They are adopting private cloud models and are also considering hybrid solutions.