fiber buildingA new report from SD-WAN specialist Aryaka found a global WAN traffic increase of 200 percent in one year. The Aryaka “State of the WAN Report” aggregated and analyzed data from more than 5,000 WAN sites in 63 countries.

The global WAN traffic increase was 440 percent in the manufacturing sector last year and faster yet – 526 percent – in the software and Internet sector, Aryaka found.  WAN traffic also soared at a rate of around 200 percent in the real estate, energy and utilities, and travel industries.

Breaking the data out across four world regions, growth in WAN traffic was slowest in the Americas, if you can call 155.73 percent annual growth slow.

Global WAN Traffic Increase
Also of note, nearly 50 percent of total global WAN traffic was transmitted using HTTP and HTTPS in 2016, which are the protocols used to support cloud and SaaS applications over the public Internet. That’s a shift from previous years, when the majority came in the form of client-server communications to and from data centers. Aryaka points to ongoing globalization and growing enterprise-scale business adoption of cloud services as drivers of increased Internet traffic within these organizations.

With cloud services and SaaS now firmly in the mainstream, enterprise-scale businesses are investing heavily to enlarge WAN links at the network edge in a bid to enhance reliability and overall performance of WAN data transport. Aryaka found that only about 12 percent of its customers’ Internet connections have bandwidths less than 10 Mbps. That’s a drop of 50 percent from last year’s 34 percent. Furthermore, one-quarter have one or more links of 100 Mbps.

Not surprisingly, Aryaka highlights findings aimed at building support for the concept of SD-WAN connectivity, which enables companies to dynamically send traffic over multiple links, depending on network conditions. Typically companies use a combination of higher-cost MPLS and lower-cost Internet connections, with the goal of saving costs and improving network performance.

Aryaka noted, for example, that the hand-off between ISPs over the Internet or IP-VPN is worsening, and that’s having a negative impact on the performance of critical business applications, such as ERP and hosted voice and video.The “middle mile” of long-distance WAN data transport remains full of pitfalls, according to Aryaka. In some cases, it remains unreliable, with latency, packet loss and “jitter” common, which indicates the Internet isn’t the new enterprise network, as some have suggested, Aryaka says.

Response times of TCP applications can run as high as 40 seconds and vary nearly 200 percent depending on the distance between sites. Greater distance accentuates the problem, Aryaka notes in the report.

Joan Engebretson contributed material to this report.