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Measuring the effectiveness of intelligent routing solutions

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Toria)

Needless to say, the internet has become critical for organisations of all kinds whether corporate, commerce, or government. A huge amount of data is constantly in flux at any given time, racing around the world. This year, the gigabyte equivalent of all the movies ever made will cross the global internet every 2 minutes. The rapidly increasing volume and complexity of data due to growing mobile data traffic, cloud-computing traffic and burgeoning development and adoption of technologies including IoT and AI, means that businesses must find new ways of coping with all this competitive data and traffic to maintain peak performance, delivering the best possible service to internal users and customers. 

Considering this challenging landscape, one of the more promising solutions is intelligent routing – a system that navigates multiple hops and routing options in any given network path to make real-time decisions on how data should travel to its destination allowing organisations to rapidly deliver content to end-users or consumers. It provides the technology and services that ensure quick delivery of content or data to a requesting node. After all, any application is only as good as the end-user experience.

How does intelligent routing work?

If you have ever invested in the use of SaaS applications in the past, then you are aware that any form of delay, whether it is a few seconds as a page loads or even longer as a process occurs, is enough to frustrate most of us. This is the standard experience that ‘normal’ Internet provides its users. 

The Internet is vulnerable to congestion, slow speeds, and performance degradation over time – what else would you expect considering that the Internet is a globally shared network built across 760,000+ individual networks. Intelligent routing aims to continuously and automatically probe all Internet destination networks and optimise their decisions to select the best routes to avoid packet loss, latency, and any network breaks or outages – all in real-time.

Intelligent routing solutions actually simulate user traffic on each of a network’s available routing paths, helping to detect packet loss and accompanying delays. At Expereo, our own Cloud Acceleration solution executes thousands of tests per minute to choose the best path available, working around any abnormal, erroneous, or sub-optimal routing paths in milliseconds. 

Once this data is gathered, it can be put into a routing policy which will automatically take into account the utilisation of links. The new routing policy will consider traffic based on availability and performance for users, leaving your business to run smoothly.

Putting services into perspective

Looking at the vast spectrum of network services, you have basic internet with broadband at the low-end. Under this model, the Internet service provider will not attempt to guarantee bandwidth, reduce packet loss or avoid delays. Then at the other end of the spectrum, you have high-end connectivity including guarantees on bandwidth and performance used by multinationals for public connectivity to cloud providers like Google or Amazon, with lots of intelligence in tow. 

In the middle of this spectrum sit systems like Cloud Acceleration, taking in the best of both packages under the umbrella of a managed network. Cloud Acceleration utilises both a premium accelerated service and a routing optimisation system that guarantees availability and performance. It is a highly flexible system, but like any form of network optimisation, the full value of intelligent routing can be difficult to measure at first glance.

Measuring effectiveness and ROI

Intelligent routing is a prevention system. It purposely avoids packet loss and congestion before those factors have a chance to affect performance. That’s why return on investment can be somewhat difficult to assess for Cloud Acceleration – you can’t measure the impact of something that hasn’t happened. However, difficult does not mean impossible. In this article, we share different ways to measure the effectiveness of intelligent routing.

One way we can evaluate improved productivity for users, and therefore profitability for the enterprise as a whole, is to compare the number of tickets raised before and after Cloud Acceleration implementation. Normally if users are undergoing a problem – whether it’s a jittery cloud application or slow download speeds – they will raise a ticket to technical support. However, companies typically see a noticeable dip in technical support issues following the shift to intelligent routing, within almost every industry. That’s because Cloud Acceleration is a quality assurance service, preventing internet connectivity from becoming a barrier to daily workflow. Reduced issues means happier users. 

The extent of improvement largely depends on geographical location. For example, we often see that some parts of Asia struggle with connectivity to Europe, or even to the US. They might lose a few minutes of business every day due to low-quality connectivity between the regions. For these locations, where delayed internet services are the norm and businesses have undergone productivity issues for a prolonged period of time, the impact of Cloud Acceleration is more immediately obvious. Vital applications will finally begin to work smoothly, supported by a robust network, and all those lost minutes will no longer add up into wasted work hours. Smart, real-time routing decisions improve application performance across all of the network.

Delivering on the network boom

Enterprise has officially entered a digital age like nothing seen before. From large multinationals and governments to small businesses, the cloud is changing the way we work and interact with clients and all companies face unique challenges when it comes to managing their networks. In the connected economy we live in, even small amounts of downtime or service degradation can have an impact on a company’s ability to function, not to mention its revenue and customer experience. Is it any surprise that we’ve seen a surge in intelligent routing adoption to optimise network infrastructure and combat latency?

Cloud acceleration services have already begun to streamline a host of day-to-day activities for corporations and government sites alike, simply by finding the fastest possible connection with minimum lag. Moving forward, it’s safe to say that intelligent routing will impact on all facets of enterprise; from seamless customer experience to the improved productivity of employees.

Salim Khouri, Head of Solutions Engineering, Americas Expereo

With over 20 years’ experience as a technology professional, Salim works as a solutions engineer to support Expereo’s managed global network and cloud connectivity solutions. His expertise includes, but is not limited to Global Internet, SD-WAN, and Security.