Optimizing bandwidth

Here are a few tips that could help agency officials make sure that investments in bandwidth optimization tools are a boon and not a bane.

1.Find a vendor that can support your wide-area network transmission speeds. Initially, bandwidth optimization tools were designed for T1 lines, which operate at a speed of 1.5 megabits/sec. Many agencies have communication links that run at speeds as low as 128 kilobits/sec and as high as 155 megabits/sec. Products that support T3 45 megabits/sec transmission are just starting to make their way into the market, with support for OC-3 links on the horizon. But plenty of vendors have options for lower speed lines, so users should make sure their vendors have some experience working with non-T1 speeds.

2.Be prepared to spend time customizing the system. Every organization has a different mix of applications, locations and users. Bandwidth optimization tools examine traffic flows within organizations and then develop intelligent ways to compress data. Therefore, the tools often require a fair amount of customization, and such devices are not as easy to install as a local-area network switch. Information technology staff members must set aside time to collect traffic information and map the products' capabilities to their agencies' requirements. n

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