Cost-Effective WAN Solution for SMEs
Internet plays an important role in business operation today, and there is an increasing number of companies that rely on Internet. Businesses enjoy the convenience and advantage of harnessing internet today. However, poor Internet connectivity can cause less productivity and loss of business opportunity, and even damage the business reputation.

A multi-WAN strategy, using two or more WAN connections, is getting applicable and common to enterprises. Initially, many organizations pursued a multi-WAN strategy because they were uncertain about WAN reliability. Multi-WAN was, and still is, seen as a way to prevent downtime caused by a single point of failure on WAN. Multi-WAN deployments were initially being driven by network redundancy, but now they are also driven by the growing demand for high-speed Internet connectivity.

>  Challenges
Downtime Caused by WAN Outages – A network with single WAN link or multiple WAN links from a single service provider will limit the WAN reliability and performance due to single source. Some businesses may apply a secondary WAN link from the other provider to achieve WAN redundancy with manual intervention when/if primary link goes down, yet this cannot be easily managed as WAN outage is so unpredictable. 

Some firewalls offer an all-or-nothing failover mechanism; in that case, when/if primary WAN link goes down, all traffic is automatically routed down the remaining active paths. This is great for redundancy, however there are always live links only for backup.

Corporate-hosted Applications – In a typical DNS deployment, a DNS server hosts and serves data for the domain(s); when an incoming DNS request for, e.g. web services appears, DNS server then replies it with IP resolution for the hosted server. This mechanism is designed for translating domain name into IP address, while it does not check if there are any network outages or congestion when replying. Thus, in case the primary WAN link fails, incoming requests might not be able to access hosted service(s) with the IP address resolved by DNS.

Insufficient Bandwidth Resources – Business-critical applications are sometimes negatively impacted by limited bandwidth. Adding an internet connection, which comes with high performance and reliability at a reasonable price, is always welcomed and needed by enterprises. However, increasing efficiency of bandwidth utilization for maximum return on investment becomes another issue after having added more bandwidth. 

Inefficient Bandwidth Utilization – Enterprise network today must be able to efficiently utilize bandwidth resources as more online applications have emerged. Critical applications like voice or video may be granted priority so that the quality of these applications will be assured, while the non-business related applications will be limited in order to prevent them from over consuming the bandwidth resource.

Unpredictable Application Performance – Business may sometimes experience unreliable application performance due to congestion or latency, causing service disruption and low productivity. WAN solutions for enterprises today must be able to cope with the changing network conditions and dynamically direct critical applications to best path.

Scalability – As business grows, more bandwidth and branch offices will be added to meet the increasing demand. While planning on WAN infrastructure, enterprise needs a WAN solution that enables them to flexibly add WAN links without limiting the future growth or over-provisioning their networks for the short term.

Site-to-site VPN Connectivity – Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a widely deployed technology for business to build a secure connection between two geographically separate sites. Critical applications such as VoIP or video conferencing or VDI are frequently transmitted in site-to-site networks. VPN is established based on a single Internet circuit; should the circuit fails, there is no way to keep the connectivity. When/if more bandwidth is required to accommodate growing demand, this is possibly difficult to achieve. 

Pop-up Stores And Temporary Sites – Pop-up stores and temporary sites have the need to stay connected to the cloud. However, broadband or MPLS services might be limited or not be available to those deployments, not to mention network redundancy. Thanks to the proliferation of 4G LTE networks, Internet connectivity for those deployments is achievable today without long waiting or paying extra. However providing a reliable WAN connectivity for those deployments still remain challenging due to unpredictable wireless connectivity or harsh environment.

>  Solutions
As an intelligent multi-WAN load balancing solution for enterprise, Q-Balancer is incorporated with comprehensive network features such as Out Load Balancing, Inbound Load Balancing, VPN Bonding, IPSec VPN Tunnel Termination & Load Balancing, 4G LTE Bonding, and Multi-Path QoS. The solution is designed to help corporate, data centers, and branch offices take full advantage of Internet. 

Outbound Load Balancing – Outbound load balancing helps business build a high-speed Internet connectivity in a cost-effective way by utilizing multiple Internet links from multiple providers. Outbound load balancing works in conjunction with the inbuilt path-monitoring, which constantly gauges the status of all WAN links. Based on the measured result and the selected algorithm, outbound load balancing efficiently distributes traffic across multiple paths. A variety of algorithms provided will help find the best-performing or responsive Internet connections when new requests arise.


Outbound Load Balancing

Q-Balancer outbound load balancing enables business to enjoy enterprise-grade WAN without paying for expensive network services.

Inbound Load Balancing – Q-Balancer inbound load balancing works as a DNS server and has the ability to check the link status in real time whenever replying the incoming DNS requests. Given this ability, content delivery to the incoming requests will be responsive, and overall efficiency of uplink bandwidth will be increased. With Q-Balancer Inbound Load Balancing, the incoming requests will always be directed to the internal servers via the active paths, and be able to avoid WAN outages and congestion.


Inbound Load Balancing & Failover

VPN Bonding & Failover – Q-Balancer has the ability to improve VPN reliability. Once Q-Balancer appliances are in place at both ends and properly configured, they will be able to divert VPN traffic to the remaining active paths in the event of WAN outage, and send VPN traffic through again once the Internet connection failback from outage.


 VPN Failover

When bandwidth demand grows, adding Internet connections for VPN, like NAT-based link load balancing does, is technically difficult to achieve. This could mean expensive upgrades or change for legacy WAN infrastructure. The inbuilt XBond (bandwidth bonding technology) is able to deliver maximum performance for VPN connection with its ability to spread the packets of VPN traffic across multiple Internet circuits. This makes VPN bonding go further than session-level load balancing. Q-Balancer VPN Bonding provides a fast, reliable, and secure connectivity for all the online activities, from browsing, video streaming and large file transfers.

The configuration of VPN bonding in Q-Balancer is a time-saving design, and so its provisioning can be done in a minimal effort to reduce operational and overhead costs.


VPN Bonding

IPSec VPN Tunnels Termination and Load Balancing – LAN-to-LAN IPSec tunnel are traditionally established based on a single Internet circuit. Through the inbuilt multi-path IPSec VPN termination and load balancing of Q-Balancer, it is now technically viable to form multiple LAN-to-LAN IPSec tunnels between two locations and distribute LAN-to-LAN traffic across the tunnels. This feature works in conjunction with policy-based load balancing, and enables LAN-to-LAN traffic to be securely transmitted across multiple tunnels like session-based load balancing.


IPSec VPN Tunnels Termination and Load Balancing

IPsec VPN Third-Party Compatibility – The IPSec tunnels can be terminated between Q-Balancer appliances or between Q-Balancer and any third-party VPN devices. IPSec tunnels terminated between a pair of Q-Balancer appliances enable enterprises to enjoy the benefits of IPSec tunnel failover load balancing.


 IPSsec VPN Tunnel Termination on Q-Balancer & Firewall

4G Bandwidth Bonding – Pop-up stores and temporary sites now are able to instantly deploy Internet connectivity whenever and wherever needed. By connecting multiple wireless Internet connections from multiple providers to Q-Balancer appliance, those temporary business locations can conduct transactions even if one of Internet connections went down. Customer services will never suffer from any WAN outage.


4G LTE Bonding for pop-up store and temporary sites

QoS (Quality of Service) – When the transmission of mission-critical applications becomes slow because of limited bandwidth resource, business would be likely to invest more in bandwidth upgrade. however, more bandwidth subscribed means paying more monthly. With Q-Balancer QoS you can flexibly prioritize network traffic based on MAC addresses, IP addresses, ports, services, and applications.


Multi-Path QoS

Q-Balancer QoS provides enterprises with granular control over the bandwidth utilization. The issues of network performance can be sorted or mitigated by allocating enough bandwidth to business-critical applications and limiting the bandwidth usage of business-unrelated traffic. It enables enterprises to throttle traffic flows on multiple paths, and so general or non-critical traffic will not overuse the bandwidth resources.

>  Benefits and Business Outcomes

  • Improving WAN reliability and performance
  • Optimal application delivery
  • Increasing VPN reliability and performance
  • Increasing WAN scalability
  • Ensuring accessibility to internal server for external requests
  • Lowering WAN OpEx and CapEx
  • Mitigating potential security threats
  • Reliable Internet connectivity for branch offices anywhere
  • Minimizing effort for branch devices installation
  • Simplifying branch network infrastructure  

Business Challenges

  • Downtime Caused by WAN Outages

  • Corporate-hosted Applications

  • Not Enough Bandwidth

  • Inefficient Bandwidth Utilization

  • Unpredictable Application Performance

  • Lack of Business-oriented Scalability

  • Site-to-site Network Connectivity

  • Pop-up Stores And Temporary Sites

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