Branch offices vary in size and purpose according to the business needs. A decision must be made about how the branch office network will be designed and what services will be provided locally versus what services will be offered via a WAN connection to the central site. Providing applications and services from the central site is typically most effective in providing a consistent experience for the users. More importantly, the central site is then well positioned to leverage a more complete business picture based on real-time information gathered from those centrally housed applications and services. The process of gathering and processing information from multiple branch office networks with locally provided applications and services can be time consuming and inefficient.
Branch offices can benefit from high-speed WAN links to the central site as well as to the Internet. When branch sites have their own locally provisioned Internet connectivity they also need locally provisioned security resources such as firewalls and content engines.
In cases where sites have only an Internet connection and no dedicated WAN connection to the central site, VPN connections can be "nailed-up" via an Internet connection to ensure a more secure connection back to the central site.
Branch offices of significant size can provide local service and applications to local teleworkers needing access to company resources from a home or satellite branch site. QoS is a concern at all points in the architecture, especially if voice and video services are being provided from the central site to remote employees.
Was this article helpful?