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A wide area network accelerator (WAN accelerator) is a type of network product that provides WAN caching and optimization services. It is a type of network-based hardware, software or a combination of both, and it provides a suite of different services to speed up and enhance the end user’s experience.
A WAN accelerator is also known as a WAN optimizer, application accelerator or bandwidth accelerator.
WAN accelerators primarily provide bandwidth optimization services by efficiently using the available capacity for maximum performance. This is done through various techniques, such as data deduplication, compression and caching. A WAN accelerator serves as an intermediate device/node between two or more different branch offices or data centers, which are connected via a wide area network. The WAN accelerator then monitors incoming/outgoing traffic and removes duplicate data, compresses data before transmission, caches references for frequently used data sets, and optimizes network protocols and overall WAN operations. This reduces the use of WAN resources and ultimately creates much faster data/application access over the WAN.