A Wide Area Network will typically connect different company locations over an ADSL line or some other form of communications line, including connection via the internet using a virtual private network (VPN) or the public network. Connections are often to servers, which support Local Area Networks (LANS) at the locations. Each of the LANs may have any number of users connected through the server, meaning they can also access the WAN.
Problems often arise when users experience a satisfactory level of processing speed over the LAN but then encounter delays when processing applications remotely or accessing remote files over the WAN. This is often caused by trying to transmit large amounts of data down lines that have insufficient capacity or running applications that require a big proportion of the available bandwidth.
The obvious answer is to increase line speeds and capacities so that more traffic can be carried at greater speeds. However, this is rarely the most cost-effective solution because a doubling of line speed can typically lead to costs going up by 80% and more. Additionally, increased speeds may only be needed at certain times and so this costly investment may be under-used for long periods.
A better option is to use WAN optimisation, which will make more efficient use of what is already in place. This leads to much improved performance at a significantly reduced cost and with no disruption to processing.