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Definition: WAN accelerator

Software that speeds up transmission in a wide area network. Various techniques are used including compression and the application of quality of service (QoS) parameters to packets. If an application is chatty and requires constant acknowledgments, a specialized WAN accelerator may transfer data behind the scenes. For example, Windows file sharing (CIFS protocol) is slow over a WAN. A CIFS WAN accelerator can prefetch data at the server side and transfer it to the client side so that most of the CIFS interaction takes place locally in the client.