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Evolving your WAN to Embrace Mobile, Cloud, and All Things Digital

Cisco and Akamai Announce Solution to Enable Digital Experiences and Relieve Network Congestion

Today marks another important milestone in Akamai's relationship with Cisco. Together we are enabling IT to respond to the business challenges to support the huge traffic increases brought on by the digital era.  Specifically, the IT challenge of supporting business leaders who are innovating at the branch office. Consider a retailer engaging customers with mobile assisted selling apps, digital displays and customer wi-fi. Think about a banker building out virtual branches to promote new financial services. Contemplate educators delivering a rich media curriculum to thousands of students. Reflect on business leaders adopting myriad digital experiences to improve productivity and drive revenues. In all these situations, organizations across the board are adopting new applications and services that require significantly more bandwidth than has been required in these "branch" locations. As important, these applications are no longer being hosted solely within the corporate data center. They are delivered from private or public cloud infrastructures, or directly from the Internet as a SaaS application.

As a result, traditional private WAN architectures that connect a branch office back to the corporate data center are not agile enough to keep up with the pace of innovation.  They do not supply sufficient bandwidth, they are not optimized for direct Internet access to cloud environments, and they are not easy or affordable to upgrade. In order to evolve to a Hybrid WAN architecture, IT needs to ensure that the performance, visibility, and security are still in place.

Enter the Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) with Akamai Connect. It is an integrated solution that leverages the market-leading Cisco ISR-AX router family and Akamai's intelligent caching software. Essentially, it extends the performance of the Akamai Intelligent Platform into the branch office, to help make the Internet, and its services, as well as the corporate WAN, work at LAN-like speeds.

Consider one retailer who assisted in the market trials for Akamai Connect. Their goal was to arm their sales agents with tablets and mobile assisted selling apps to better service customers and generate more revenues. But the apps contained lots of graphical product images and even videos. Backhauling all that traffic across the WAN was not working. Performance was poor and it affected other applications, and as a result the sales agents avoided the tablet altogether. Enter Akamai Connect running in their local Cisco ISR-AX router, where content was cached and even pre-positioned during off hours. The performance numbers in the table below speak for themselves. 


Akamai Connect

With Akamai Connect  1st Hit

With Akamai Connect
2nd Hit


57 seconds

18 seconds

2 seconds

Repair App

70 seconds

28 seconds

<1 second

Catalog App

28 seconds

13 seconds

<1 second


Cisco's IWAN with Akamai Connect combines technology from Cisco such as security, WAN Optimization, path selection, and application visibility and control; with Akamai's caching and application optimization technology inside the Cisco ISR.

For business leaders, they can now innovate with new digital experiences to engage customers and make employees more productive.

For their customers, they can now receive access to information instantly, inside a store or branch office, uplifting their experience with video, mobile apps, and social media.

And for IT, they now have a simple management framework at a low cost to enable new business applications, embrace mobile devices and the consumerization of IT, leverage the cloud, and connect directly to the Internet in a secure manner.

Cisco's IWAN with Akamai Connect provides businesses with a secure, cost effective way to migrate their traditional WAN to an agile Hybrid WAN giving IT the ability to truly leverage mobile, cloud, and all things digital.

Since its inception, Akamai was worked to make the Internet a business friendly environment by providing the performance and security needed to deliver a superior web experience. The Akamai Intelligent Platform has always accomplished this by routing traffic efficiently, optimizing it, and delivering it at the edge of the network. Today we deliver as much as 30% of all Internet traffic, and much of the business Internet traffic. But to date, Akamai has never cached or optimized traffic inside the enterprise. Today all that changed.

Akamai will be inside the Cisco booth at Cisco Live, May 18-22 in San Francisco. If you are attending, please come by for a product demonstration. We will also be participating in Cisco's IWAN webinar series on June 18th.


Frank Childs is Director of Product Marketing for Akamai's Hybrid WAN Solutions and Akamai's Network Operator Solutions.