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Issue of February 2005 

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Outsource network traffic management woes

C B Tan, vice-president, customer services and technical operations, Orient Networks, says that managing network traffic can be a knotty problem, and it's best to outsource it to a competent solutions provider

Is network traffic management problematic?

In a modern city with dozens of by-lanes and main roads, traffic varies depending upon the time of the day. Deciding upon the most effective route can be a tricky process. You have to consider various aspects—which roads are congested, which route is longer, how soon you need to get there, and how fast can you go.

Similar quandaries dog the world of enterprise networks, where diverse applications compete for available bandwidth. The increased use of converged networks also places additional demands upon network performance.

The solution is much the same as that adopted on concrete roads and highways which is to let the network assess each application and its traffic type, and then assign an appropriate priority routing and bandwidth to it. An application-optimised network, with appropriate security against unauthorised access, can intelligently measure bandwidth use and apportion bandwidth by application.

Is there an ideal solution?

An ideal solution would be to outsource network traffic management responsibilities to a competent solutions provider. The idea is to optimise a company's resources and provide the best quality of use at the individual level. A network that has been professionally application-optimised can even adapt itself to new applications and newly-emerged traffic patterns. It's an area of expertise that is, extremely niche, and hiring full-time expertise for this particular purpose may be unviable.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

The primary objective of outsourcing is to get your organisation to focus on your core competencies and leave other aspects, such as network traffic optimisation, to the specialists.

The outsourcing service provider will perform the tasks of managing and monitoring the network round the clock, and will be prepared for any eventuality. The service provider should have a network management centre equipped with cutting-edge technology and incident response teams that are experienced in dealing with problems from start to finish.

Good outsourcing firms will provide guarantees in the form of Service Level Agreements that detail quality standards and, quite often, penalties for failure to deliver.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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