Enterprise Networks Are Much Slower Than Home Systems: 10 Reasons Why

1 - Enterprise Networks Are Much Slower Than Home Systems: 10 Reasons Why
2 - Too Little Bandwidth to Start
3 - Software as a Service Stresses the WAN
4 - SaaS Adds Latency
5 - Surge in HTTP
6 - Bigger Web Pages
7 - Needless Redelivery
8 - The Web Is Cacheable
9 - Voice and Video
10 - Alternative Solutions
11 - A Faster, Better Web
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Enterprise Networks Are Much Slower Than Home Systems: 10 Reasons Why

by Chris Preimesberger

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Too Little Bandwidth to Start

Most companies start out in a hole by provisioning too little bandwidth on their Internet connections. Whether due to budget limits or poor planning—not understanding users' real Internet habits and needs—most companies don't offer enough bandwidth for their users' needs. It's common for users to have less than 50K bps, a far cry from the 10M-bps broadband speeds they have at home from their cable company.

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Software as a Service Stresses the WAN

Companies large and small are embracing SaaS to focus their IT efforts on strategic projects and end-user support, instead of building and maintaining data center infrastructure. However, many adopt SaaS without considering the toll it takes on their wide-area network from the additional traffic.

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SaaS Adds Latency

Not only does SaaS overload the WAN, causing slowdowns and increased packet loss, but it also adds latency by moving the data center further away from the end users, so applications can end up moving a lot slower.

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Surge in HTTP

The shift from client-server to Web-based applications (whether on-premises or SaaS) has meant the shift to greater amounts of HTTP traffic. HTTP is a "chatty" protocol and uses a high number of round trips to get the data from the server to the browser, further exacerbating the feeling that employees get of a really slow network. Today, 57 percent of corporate network traffic is HTTP/S.

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Bigger Web Pages

Web pages are getting bigger with more features, images and JavaScript. According to the HTTParchive.org, Web pages are growing 33 percent in size every year.

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Needless Redelivery

The real killer is the needless redelivery of the same Web content over and over again. Browser caches are comically small (typically 250MB), compared with both the amount of Web app and Website usage and the colossal size of hard drives today. Small caches mean that content is forced out by new content too soon, so it has to be redelivered.

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The Web Is Cacheable

The redelivery of content is unnecessary because most of it is static and cacheable. It's hard to believe, but 88 percent of the average Web page is static and can—and should—be cached and re-used. A lot of the content is invisible, like Cascading Style Sheets and JavaScript, so many don't even realize it's there.

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Voice and Video

Network congestion isn't just caused by new Web content. As companies shift to using voice over IP (VOIP) and videoconferencing, they are adding more traffic to their already overburdened WANs.

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Alternative Solutions

A solution to slow Web-based applications and Websites in general is more caching. Today's large hard drives have room for multi-gigabyte-size caches that browsers can utilize. There's no reason browsers should have a single cache that all Web apps have to share.

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A Faster, Better Web

The impact of significantly improved Web caching would be profound. Caches that are large, per-user and per-site could provide the greatest possible benefit in terms of reducing needless redelivery of content, thus eliminating large amounts of WAN traffic. Latency would also be greatly reduced—by a factor of four to fifteen, depending on conditions, because delivering content from cache is much faster than delivering it over the network.

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