5 criteria for application-aware SD-WANs | Virtual Reality

Over the past five years, SD-WANs deployments have skyrocketed. And for good reason: They increase network agility and cut the cost of network transport.

One common myth about SD-WANs, however, is that they improve application performance. They certainly can under some circumstances, but there is no guarantee they will under all situations. SD-WANs address only part of the transformation of the network to becoming a digital enabler. SD-WANs must now become smarter, or “application aware,” to optimize user experience, improve customer service, and increase worker productivity. 

The requirement to have an application-aware network has never been more urgent, as application performance has a direct impact on a company’s top and bottom line. For example, according to an Accenture survey, 66 percent of millennials have changed their brand loyalties because of a bad user experience. Also, a recent ZK Research survey found that workers are 14 percent less productive than they could be as a result of poor application performance. Make no mistake; poorly performing applications are costing companies today.

Application awareness maximizes SD-WAN value

An application-aware network can identify and classify applications and then apply the appropriate optimization techniques to ensure optimum performance per user. The diverse types of applications — real-time, streaming, cloud, and others — require different optimization methods, so it’s important for the SD-WAN solution to support a wide range of network performance improvement features, including the following.

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