Is your network suffering from the Trombone Effect?

September 27th, 2015

Trombones are wonderful instruments. These brass beauties are mainstays of any marching band, dutifully producing a bouncing bass tone. Some trombones, however, generate a completely different sound: cries of frustration from networking teams and end users across the globe.

Such cries are common among those suffering from the “trombone effect” on their corporate network. This occurs in a network architecture that forces a distributed organization to use a single, secure exit point to the Internet, and vice versa. For example, network traffic from remote locations and mobile users is being backhauled to the corporate data center before exiting the Internet through the network security appliances stack. Responses then flow back through the same stack and travel from the data center to the remote user. The resulting twisted path resembles the bent pipes of a trombone, producing a negative impact on latency and, therefore, the user experience.

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