The benefits of Cisco’s Wide Area Network Automation Engine

What is a Wide Area Network (WAN)

A wide area network (WAN) is a private telecommunications network that provides the infrastructure to interlink the firm’s local area networks (LANs) together. A WAN allows for geographically distributed facilities to connect with each other. They usually consist of connections between the company’s headquarters, branch offices and cloud services, however it is often best to hire WAN specialists to install a bespoke network. NSC Global installed a 24 hour WAN network for a sporting company so events could be showcased across the globe for each time zone as required. The WAN enables users to share access to applications, services and databases that are all centrally located.

The efficiency of such a setup is that it eliminates the need to install the security features, applications or other resources to multiple locations, merely update the WAN and the whole network is upgraded. Simply put, the WAN allows businesses to rapidly scale without fear of time-consuming local network upgrades.

What is a Wide Area Network Automation Engine (WAE)

The WAN however can be further optimised to benefit the firm. Cisco’s WAN Automation Engine (WAE) is one way of doing this. A WAE is a powerful software-defined networking (SDN) platform, enabling firms to alter the WAN to suit their purposes. Simplifying the WAN environment and opening it up to programmable features and applications are the main benefits of implementing an automation engine into your network. With a typical WAN, management and maintenance cannot be performed in real time due to the complexity of such a system. With the WAE integrated, corporations are able to deploy innovative services such as coordinated maintenance, bandwidth calendaring and premium network-routing solutions.

The automation engine combines smart data collection, modelling and predictive analytics into a far-reaching API-based platform. In previous extensive private networks, companies often had to hire highly specialised IT engineers to carry out time-intensive manual operations such as improving network performance or planning for increasing capacity. These operations can now be automated, using the WAE, saving time and cost.

Coordinated Maintenance

Cisco looked into the different processes that can now be optimised by such an engine, citing maintenance as one of the cases that can be drastically bettered by the WAE. Coordinated Maintenance is an application that aims to simplify, automate and improve the way customers approach change management when using the WAN. Overall the application seeks to reduce uncertainty over the impact of network changes; guides operators to enact maintenance at critical times; allows geographically and functionally disparate teams to communicate more effectively about network changes; and it reduces the chance of mistake in aspects of network maintenance that are sensitive to operator error.

Optimise Your Most Costly Resources

Having a network that incorporates overseas branches can be very costly as transoceanic links require pricey maintenance and upgrades. One of the benefits of the WAN Automation Engine is that these links are always used as efficiently as they possibly can. The engine integrates a Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP) which helps assign the best load-share metrics so that expensive network resources are fully optimised.

Cisco’s WAN Automation Engine streamlines your network for you, and provides applications that greatly increase IT efficiency. It is seemingly a no-brainer when it comes to implementing the WAE or not. What company wants to employ hard-to-find specialists to update, maintain and optimise their global network.