A Guest Blog By Scott Moore of Scott Moore Consulting
Is your company struggling with business application performance issues now that a majority of your workforce is working from home?
Poor in-home Wi-Fi connections and flooded networks can be a source of serious performance degradation – especially when it is not just your employee at home, it’s their whole family. Many organizations are experiencing lagging applications, poor video quality, and even crashes and outages due to the sudden need to support a remote workforce.
Here are some tips and tricks to optimize application and network performance to ensure your team can work without interruptions when working from home.
- Ensure your home Wi-Fi router is up to par. The older routers from just a couple of years ago were made assuming the average home had less than five devices sharing it. The average has increased to nine and industry experts expect to see that rise to as many as 50 devices per household in the next couple of years. For this reason, it may be beneficial to upgrade to a router based on the WIFI 6 standard. They won’t necessarily be faster overall, but they’re more likely to maintain top speeds even in busier environments.
- Prioritize traffic for essential applications, regardless of how new your Wi-Fi router is. Most consumer Wi-Fi routers have Quality of Service (QoS) settings that allow for various applications and traffic types to be manipulated. If you’re trying to work while other bored family members are constantly streaming Netflix and Disney+, you may find it hard to have conference calls without buffering.
- Inspect the performance and settings of your VPN to make sure it isn’t a bottleneck. Many companies are now testing the performance of their corporate VPN after realizing they weren’t configured properly. With the massive increase in remote workers, demand can quickly exceed resources, but certain steps can be taken to ensure performance like switching servers or installing the latest updates. This should be done on the company side.
- Remember performance isn’t necessarily how fast something is, it’s how efficient it is. If you can minimize how much you talk to something but still have the conversation, that can be more effective at improving performance than pure speed. The fastest calls are the calls you never have to make. We can work to make applications faster but sometimes we put so much energy into it through extra infrastructure, that it ends up costing more than if we had just focused on optimization.
Adding more hardware or a bigger network is not always going to solve a performance problem or be the best answer from a cost perspective.
Look at how chatty applications are by monitoring them on the network. If they are too chatty or if they are sending large packets, you can reduce those or make the streams smaller by shaping the network. As a company you can also make choices like only using audio and not video on zoom conferences to save bandwidth when not necessary.
- Emulate network conditions to validate performance. In order to understand what changes need to be made to your systems and applications, it’s beneficial to recreate the conditions of your network. By emulating the same bandwidth constraints and latency experienced by employees, network engineers can easily pinpoint where performance bottlenecks and fail points are occurring on the network. This enables them to make critical changes to the applications or network to improve performance.
Once initiatives like reducing the chattiness of applications and prioritizing traffic have been implemented, network emulation can also help validate that the changes were effective, and everything is performing as expected.
By understanding how different devices will perform under various network conditions, organizations can troubleshoot and optimize their business applications to ensure they perform at the highest possible quality and their workers can remain productive as they continue to work from home.
To learn more about how network emulation can help improve application performance for your remote employees reach out to one of Apposite’s performance engineering experts.