The Hybrid WAN or Hybrid Network is the future of Wide Area Networking. As organizations adopt public cloud services and unified communications, network architects are looking for affordable ways to improve the performance and the availability of branch office connectivity. The current practice of connecting branch offices to a single MPLS connection leaves the office vulnerable to network outages while back-hauling Internet traffic over a WAN wastes bandwidth and adds latency. A failure of that single MPLS connection can be extremely costly to a company unless they have engineered the appropriate backup network facilities.
Recently, many organizations are turning to hybrid networks. The hybrid WAN / hybrid network connect branch offices to the local internet and the MPLS backbone. Internet connectivity provides low-cost resiliency via a VPN and access to cloud services, the MPLS backbone provides access to corporate services.
But connecting offices to multiple paths on the same or different networks presents a number of architectural challenges. Traffic loads need to be balanced across the paths to maximize a company’s investment in its WAN services. Latency- or loss-sensitive traffic must be placed on paths that provide the appropriate service quality, which also requires gathering real-time network statistics. Other applications may need to be designated to one path or another, such as for security or cost reasons. Dynamic Path Control provides path selection technologies to handle the packet analysis to route traffic on the best path on the hybrid network.
Dynamic Path Control automatically selects the fastest, least congested, or most available path between two locations by monitoring a path’s packet loss, latency, and bandwidth in real-time on the hybrid network. Network architectures become smarter and more dynamic.
Benefits of Hybrid Networks
- Prevent problems before they occur by detecting signs of a failing path and proactively switching traffic to a backup path.
- Reduce costs by replacing expensive MPLS connections with aggregated, more affordable Internet links.
- Dynamic Path Control automatically balances the traffic, maximizing the WAN investment and isolating an erratic connection before it impacts the application.
- Improve availability by adding a secondary connection without wasting its bandwidth.
- Avoid backhauling traffic across the MPLS network by using local internet access. Backhauling traffic over a private network wastes bandwidth and degrades the performance of cloud applications, such as Salesforce or Microsoft Office 365.
Traffic Path selection options with a hybrid network can be made based on:
- Lowest latency or loss where the system dynamically selects the path for a traffic flow based on the lowest loss or latency.
- Balanced basis where the system balances traffic flows between the available tunnels based upon optimum bandwidth utilization.
- Manual basis where a traffic flow is designated for a preferred path.
Hybrid WANs can be designed using a variety of technologies. The benefits are worth exploring. If you would like to learn more, please contact us.