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Optimising network performance for global businesses


As the digital economy grows, enterprises are looking to build network infrastructures that connect users in different geographic regions.

Network connectivity is critical for global businesses to operate efficiently. With billions of people now connected to the internet, it has become compulsory for thriving companies to build network infrastructures that empower fast and reliable communications with their customers, vendors and employees.

Many global enterprises have moved away from traditional approaches to internet connectivity, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) or Wide Area Networks, by procuring multiple internet services at once, explains Kristaps Petrovskis, CTO at Expereo.

“Internet services can vary drastically, and businesses that procure services based primarily on initial cost can end up with a complex environment that is difficult to manage and optimise,” Petrovskis adds. “Some global businesses have as many as 100 different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across all the regions they operate, leading to significant issues including network latency, performance lag, unreliable availability or poor service quality in general. Fortunately, there are several ways to overcome these issues and enhance global networks for optimal performance.”

The first step is establishing complete visibility into network performance, which can help organisations avoid traffic overloads by identifying bottlenecks with a specific internet service provider. This can be done in real-time as issues are identified, or even planned for in advance to overcome predicted spikes in traffic.

Organisations can also design their network to maximise performance on a global scale, helping them avoid distance or region-based latency issues. During the design phase, businesses must assess where users are located, how they are hosted, and what applications they are using, before setting up bandwidth and latency policies that maximises application performance in a multi-cloud environment. Businesses can also establish site-based traffic optimisation, to prioritise more critical applications over less important services, such as emails.

“Typically, a business’s internet routing will rely on the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which automatically selects the “shortest route” for internet traffic,” Petrovskis continues. “However, the shortest route isn’t always the shortest in geographical terms, nor the optimal route for the best performance. In fact, the inefficiencies of the BGP protocol often lead to increased packet loss, overloaded data transit services and other efficiency restrictions.

“This is why businesses must add an optimisation layer that can test and identify the best routes for internet traffic that override the static BGP routes. This is an extremely effective measure for empowering application performance and guaranteeing the best infrastructure efficiencies.”

Implementing a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solution is typically a sure-fire method to overcome the aforementioned issues. This is because SD-WAN by design is a performance driven solution, where traffic is routed on the best available paths, and is capable of differentiating these improvements on application.

Although, businesses must understand that SD-WAN performance is typically reliant on how good their network underlay connectivity is. The wrong choices of internet underlay might limit SD-WAN overlay benefits, and as result bring limited improvements despite investments in technology designed to refresh it.

Therefore, businesses must consider SD-WAN providers that provide complete transparency into the ISPs they interact with, providing insight into performance metrics, including packet loss, latency, peering capacity and reliability. This ensures your SD‑WAN infrastructure can always select a high‑performing route in real time when choosing where to tunnel.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach for sourcing and managing internet services, and acquiring the right expertise has proven to be difficult, particularly in the midst of a global IT skills shortage,” Petrovskis concludes. “This is why seeking the support of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) could be a cost and time-effective route that empowers growth, scalability and efficiency in the long-term.”

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