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What is a
WAN Emulator?

Apposite uses the terms ‘WAN emulator’ and ‘network emulator’,  but there is no industry standard name, and these devices can also be referred to as a ‘link emulator’, ‘network impairment generator’, ‘delay generator’, ‘network simulator’, ‘network emulator software’ and other terms. But whatever you call it, the idea is the same – a test tool used to emulate the bandwidth, delay, loss, and other conditions of a wide-area network to test, troubleshoot, and optimize the performance of applications in the test lab.

Why Do You Need A WAN Emulator?

Applications usually work great on the LAN where there’s plenty of bandwidth and no latency or packet loss. But run them over a WAN, with long delays and limited bandwidth, and they crawl to a halt. Back in the days when we ran all of our applications on our own PC, it didn’t matter, but most applications now have a centralized server component connected to a local client. And unfortunately, they often don’t work well when the server is at one location and the client is located elsewhere connected over a WAN link or the internet. And that makes testing difficult but necessary.

Of course, you can send client systems out to remote users and see if they work well enough. But that’s time-consuming and not repeatable. Or you can assume vendors have tested their products thoroughly for your network conditions, but that leads to a life of fire drills and unhappy users. Instead, what you need is a device that replicates the conditions of your network.

How Does A WAN Emulator Work?

WAN emulators connect between the client and server. The device applies the conditions of your WAN to the packet stream so that they come out of the device looking to the client and server exactly as if they had traversed the wide area network. Apply network impairments like latency, packet loss, and bandwidth constraints to mimic real-world network conditions. Then test your application over the emulated WAN to understand how the impairments will impact performance and end-user experience. That’s a how a WAN emulator & WAN emulator software works.

Benefits Of Using A WAN Emulator

By choosing to utilize the features of a WAN or Network Emulator, you can avoid future headaches and create scalable solutions for your network infrastructure. Here are the top benefits of implementing a WAN Emulator:

  • Performance: WAN emulators can help identify and prevent potential future performance problems.
  • Identification: WAN emulators assist in identifying constraints and issues that could cause network hazards like crashes.
  • Sandboxing: Emulators give your team a safe area to test aspects of any application.
  • Benchmarking: The control results when using a network emulator can give your team a standard to compare live results to.
  • Duplication: Duplicate your current issue with a WAN emulator and identify and test the problem in a lab setting.

How Are WAN Emulators Used?

Assume you’re working at headquarters. You insert the WAN emulator between your PC and the office network, and dial in the WAN conditions of different remote users.  The applications on your PC will now work exactly as if they were at the remote office, and while they’ll likely be so painfully slow that you’ll need to turn the WAN emulator off to get any work done, at least now you’ll know why people at the local office are complaining that the applications are too slow to get any work done. And with the WAN emulator, you’ll have a useful tool to not only see the performance problems but to try out solutions to fix them.

Who Needs A WAN Emulator?

Network emulators are an essential tool for several professionals. Emulators like our netropy can provide and identify solutions to complex problems in your industry. Do you need to test your newly developed application? What about your VOIP system? These are just some examples of testing that a WAN Emulator can provide. Here are some common individuals who benefit from WAN emulation:

  • Network Engineers
  • IT Managers
  • System Administrators
  • Technology Officers
  • Cloud Engineers

..and many more! The reality is that if you are a professional responsible for maintaining and growing your companies network infrastructure or testing and ensuring the quality of your products, then a WAN emulator could be a valuable tool for you!

Learn More About Our WAN Emulators

Now that you understand the benefits of using a WAN Emulator, reach out to our test experts to learn if an Apposite network emulator is right for you.  Improve your application performance and end-user experience with our modern, easy-to-use network emulators.