Revolutionize User Experiences with App Acceleration

Feb 28, 2024
5 minutes
509 views

Proactively Mitigate Packet Loss & Other Adverse Network Conditions on a Per-user Basis

Today’s hybrid workforces primarily rely on Wi-Fi and cellular networks for critical business application connections. Unfortunately, these connections introduce wireless interference and packet loss that can profoundly impact network performance and end-user productivity.

Packet Loss 101

Data transmitted over a network is broken down into smaller units called “packets.” Packets contain information about the sender, recipient, and message. These packets are numbered, sent over the network to the recipient, and then reassembled in order at the recipient device.

“Packet loss” happens when one or more of these packets fail to reach the recipient device. When packet loss occurs, the packets must be retransmitted to complete the transfer and unblock the application, reducing throughput and app responsiveness.

There are many ways and reasons for packet loss. In general, though, Wi-Fi and cellular networks often experience higher packet loss due to the nature of wireless transmissions and their susceptibility to radio frequency interference.

Common causes include physical obstructions like walls and furniture, as well as structural materials. Additionally, access point placement and different spectrum speeds—like LTE, 4G, or 5G—can limit wireless range and influence how much packet loss happens.

Prisma SASE App Acceleration is a new, ground-breaking solution designed to improve modern hybrid workforce productivity by mitigating packet loss effects for each individual user session to ensure maximum throughput in even adverse network conditions.

The Challenge of Mitigating Poor Network Conditions

When packet loss occurs, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) has built-in mechanisms to detect it and retransmit any lost packets. However, retransmitting packets comes at a cost of increased latency and reduced throughput.

Environments prone to poor network conditions—including homes with weak cellular coverage or coffee shops with public Wi-Fi—exacerbate performance impact. Since TCP doesn’t have the full context of the connection, device or app constraints in these locations, it provides a one-size-fits-all recovery mechanism that behaves the same for all users and apps.

Enterprises have traditionally looked into solutions like WAN acceleration to improve app performance. However, WAN acceleration provides little relief for remote workers as it only acts inside of areas where the enterprise has full control over the network.

Unfortunately, the most packet loss occurs in the connection between a remote worker’s wireless network and the secure access service edge (SASE) solution. This segment is commonly referred to as the “first mile,” and enterprises have no control over it.

Figure 1: “First-mile” connectivity is where most packet loss occurs, but resides outside corporate control.

To mitigate the effects of packet loss and deliver optimized experiences for distributed remote workforces, a solution must fulfill three conditions:

  1. It must contextualize packet loss across device, network, and app context.
  2. It must act in real time to compensate for packet loss.
  3. It must adapt to every user’s changing connectivity constraints in real-time.

Simply retransmitting packets after the occurrence of packet loss won’t improve the user experience. Wireless connection health is different from moment to moment, requiring real-time packet loss measurement and mitigation to positively impact the user experience.

It’s extremely challenging to measure and mitigate packet loss for remote employees who often connect over cellular or other consumer-grade equipment. These types of connections simply don’t have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for packet loss, nor do they have any packet loss measurement and mitigation capabilities. Likewise, the variety of device types and operating systems remote workers use behave differently or have slight variations in their TCP implementation.

Any solution must take into account the full context to effectively mitigate the effects of adverse network conditions. The device, operating system, and network context dictate how much data the receiving device can handle without becoming overloaded.

How can organizations overcome adverse conditions and mitigate packet loss when they don’t own and manage first-mile networks? That’s where App Acceleration for Prisma SASE comes into play.

Maximize throughput for Optimal User Experiences

Prisma SASE App Acceleration springs into action the instant it detects packet loss in the connection. It proactively optimizes the packet delivery rate to the receiving device to achieve maximum throughput for each individual user, without overloading the receiving device.

Prisma SASE App Acceleration tailors its optimization to compensate for changing network conditions, ensuring that users experience consistent, high-speed connectivity. This tailored optimization enables Prisma SASE App Acceleration to deliver the following benefits:

  • Up to five times faster than direct-to-internet performance that dramatically improves first-mile connection speed while providing best-in-class security with Prisma Access.
  • Improved throughput equals improved productivity with real-time packet loss mitigation that boosts throughput and drives faster data access to improve user experience.
  • Individually optimized user experience that recognizes the uniqueness of each user’s connection to ensure that each user receives an optimized experience tailored to their exact network conditions.
  • Zero code or infrastructure changes means Prisma SASE App Acceleration doesn’t require custom implementation, code, or infrastructure changes.
  • Enhanced security with Prisma SASE integration that provides the superior security of ZTNA 2.0 for advanced protection for applications and sensitive data.

Say goodbye to frustrated employees and hello to a seamless user experience individually tailored for everyone. With App Acceleration, organizations now have a revolutionary tool to help them embark on a transformative journey optimized for individual experiences.

Check out our podcast with Packet Pushers to learn more and embrace the future of employee experiences with Prisma SASE App Acceleration.

 


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