In addition to the focus on cloud, WAN optimization vendors are keen on optimizing traffic from mobile devices -- mainly laptops -- back to corporate sites and data centers that support WAN optimization controllers. Individual users can speed up interactions with applications and data without having to visit a corporate site.
Vendors are looking closely at extending this capability to tablets and smartphones, with Circadence last month introducing a client for Android devices. Other vendors have considered the possibility of such clients but have reservations.
Most agree that phones and tablets have the resources to support WAN optimization, but are less certain that businesses want it -- and if they do, what operating system they would want it for.
"The market feasibility needs to be resolved," Hughes says. "It's not clear there is a sufficient critical mass of critical applications on smartphones and tablets." If an optimization client were written for smartphones and tablets, it's unclear whether it would have all the features of an appliance or the current client for laptops, he says. "That's a good question that's yet to be resolved."
He suggests that WAN optimization for mobile phones and other handhelds be left to the makers of the devices. "In that ecosystem there's not a lot of room for extra innovation to be layered on top of them. It's not an attractive market."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.