RealTime IT News

Citrix Boosts WAN Connections For Remote Users

The wide-area network (WAN)  acceleration market is a crowded space, with vendors of all sizes claiming their wares do a better job of accelerating traffic between locations.

However, most WAN acceleration products are limited because they only help users that are actually inside the office branch Remote workers outside of the office tend to get short shrift.

A new solution from Citrix  aims to solve that issue by extending the WAN acceleration paradigm to the local PC user level with a new version of its WANScaler product, which the company acquired by purchasing Orbital Data last year.

Announced at the Interop networking show in Las Vegas today, WANScaler version 4 is a WAN optimization software client for remote and mobile employees. Citrix claims that it offers the same acceleration benefits as its core WANScaler appliance includes a client option for remote out of branch users.

"Up to 90 percent of users access applications while out of the office and as soon as users step out of the branch they loose the benefits of WAN optimization," Greg Smith, director of product marketing for Citrix Systems, told internetnews.com. "The idea for us now with WANScaler is that when it comes to WAN optimization no user is left behind."

The challenge of secure remote access has been solved for some time with SSL VPN and IPsec VPNs. However, those products include performance tradeoffs that almost always result in slower access speeds.

To that end, the WANScaler client will interoperate with VPNs so users can run encrypted connections and still get the benefits of WAN acceleration. In the WANScaler client, the optimization takes place before the data encryption, which is necessary to get the full benefit, Smith said.

Smith admitted that WAN optimization market is very fragmented and there are a lot of vendors with competing claims.

"With version 4 the differentiation is the WANScaler client and the fact that we can provide the acceleration without any trade off in security," Smith said. "We don't believe that mobile users should have to trade off security for performance."

In addition to the VPN interoperability, Citrix's WANScaler provides a degree of transparency for users, so that security policy can still be applied to the optimized traffic.

Smith explained that Citrix preserves the application header information that is crucial for identification by security systems. The importance of WAN optimization transparency was a hotly debated topic at Interop NY last year.

Citrix will begin selling WANScaler version 4 in June.