What is an Application Delivery Network (ADN)?

In the modern digital landscape, the demand for efficient and secure delivery of applications has never been higher. This is where application delivery networks (ADNs) come into play. An ADN is a suite of technologies that, when deployed together, provide availability, security, visibility, and acceleration for internet applications such as websites.

ADNs are crucial in today's digital environment as they ensure that website content is delivered to visitors and other users in a fast, secure, and reliable way. They are comprised of WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) and application delivery controllers (ADCs).

Understanding ADN: How it Works and its Primary Components

At the data center or cloud center end, often called the ‘head-end’ of an ADN, is the ADC, an advanced traffic management device that is often referred to as a web switch, content switch, load balancer, or multilayer switch. The purpose of the ADC is to distribute traffic among several servers or geographically dislocated sites based on application-specific criteria.

In the branch office portion of an ADN is the WAN optimization controller (WOC), which works to reduce the number of bits that flow over the network using caching and compression, and shapes TCP traffic using prioritization and other optimization techniques.

Some WOC components are installed on PCs or mobile clients, and there is typically a portion of the WOC installed in the data center or cloud center. Since WOC requires both a client/branch and data center or cloud center deployments, they are also symmetric deployment. ADCs, on the other hand, do not require an ADC component on the client or branch, hence they are asymmetric deployment. ADNs optimize the dynamic content, unlike content delivery networks (CDNs) which focus on static content.

The Relevance of ADNs in a Modern Digital Environment

In an app-driven world, ensuring application availability and performance are critical for ensuring an optimal digital experience. Radware’s suite of cybersecurity and application delivery solutions enable providers to maintain business continuity and availability to meet stringent customer SLAs while securing valuable data and maintaining scalable, flexible application management.

The Benefits of Implementing an Application Delivery Network

ADNs significantly enhance website and application performance in several ways:

Load Balancing: ADNs distribute traffic among multiple servers or sites based on application-specific criteria, ensuring efficient utilization of resources.

Reduced Latency: WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) in ADNs optimize network traffic, by using proprietary methods, since they are deployed on both ends of the traffic, reducing latency and improving throughput. ADCs also reduce latency by using standardized compression techniques and other methods such as caching.

Application Acceleration: By storing static content and optimizing SSL and TLS connections, ADNs can significantly improve the speed of web applications.

Security Advantages of ADNs

ADNs offer robust security features that align with Radware’s core competencies in cybersecurity:

Mitigation of Application-Layer Attacks: ADNs can limit traffic based on particular sets of rules, which may fluctuate regularly. Tools such as a properly configured WAF can mitigate the amount of malicious traffic passed on to an origin server, greatly diminishing the impact of the DDoS attempt.

Protection Against DDoS Attacks: ADNs can absorb large-scale attacks, increasing record TTLs to reduce both legitimate and illegitimate queries from reaching authoritative nameservers.

Cybersecurity: The unreliability of cyber systems can affect the security of ADNs. A deeper coupling of information and power would make ADNs evolve into typical cyber-physical systems (CPSs), enhancing their security.

Cost-Efficiency and Scalability Benefits of ADNs

ADNs offer significant cost-efficiency and scalability benefits:

Scalability: With cloud computing, businesses can scale their resources up or down as needed, based on the current demand. This approach enables developers to focus on building the application, rather than managing the infrastructure, making the development process more efficient and cost-effective.

Cost-Efficiency: The inherent scalability, flexibility, and easy provisioning of cloud service can lead to resource sprawl and cost overruns. However, with proper governance for cloud resources, businesses can more effectively leverage their IT budgets.

Adaptability: ADNs can adapt to changing traffic demands, ensuring the application is always running optimally, regardless of the workload. Once the traffic subsides, the resources can be scaled back down, allowing the company to cut costs.

Key Features of an Advanced Application Delivery Network

The main features of an advanced ADN are:

Load Balancing and Traffic Management

Load balancing is a fundamental feature of an ADN. It efficiently distributes incoming network traffic across a group of backend servers, also known as a server farm or server pool. This process is essential for handling high traffic volumes and maintaining uptime.

The ADN uses real-time data to prioritize application access and optimizes load balancing. The application delivery controllers (ADCs) and WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) work together within the application delivery network to give applications more speed, availability, and scalability.

Load balancing works by acting as the “traffic cop” sitting in front of your servers and routing client requests across all servers capable of fulfilling those requests in a manner that maximizes speed and capacity utilization and ensures that no one server is overworked, which could degrade performance. If a single server goes down, the load balancer redirects traffic to the remaining online servers. When a new server is added to the server group, the load balancer automatically starts to send requests to it.

Enhanced Security Measures

ADNs offer robust security features and can be customized with security features that address specific application needs. They can also be enhanced with performance and reliability features such as traffic management for application prioritization and fail-over for backup connection services.

ADN standard security features include firewall, intrusion detection, logging, wireless scanning, content filtering, access control list, multi-factor authentication, advanced encryption standard (AES) encryption, and compartmentalization.

SSL Offloading

SSL offloading is the process of removing the SSL-based encryption from incoming traffic that a web server receives to relieve it from the processing burden of decrypting and/or encrypting traffic sent via SSL. The processing is offloaded to a separate device designed specifically to perform SSL acceleration or SSL termination.

Content Caching

Content caching is a feature that allows an ADN to store content locally in the ADC rather than fetching it from the server for every request. This reduces the load on the server and improves the speed of content delivery.

In conclusion, an advanced ADN solution should offer robust load balancing and traffic management capabilities, enhanced security measures, SSL offloading, and content caching. These features work together to ensure the optimal performance, security, and reliability of applications delivered over the network.

Radware Application Delivery Network Solutions and Products

Radware offers a range of products designed to enhance the performance, security, and availability of applications:


Alteon is used for private, public, and hybrid cloud environments, consolidation, disaster recovery, IPV6 migration, and virtualization. It is part of Radware’s application delivery controller solutions that accelerate and load balance applications. Alteon Multi Cloud helps organizations optimize application delivery and protection services across multi-cloud environments at a push of a button, while protecting their investment in their transition to the cloud.


AppWall is used for web application and API security and PCI compliance. It is a robust Web Application and API protection solution (WAAP) that provides comprehensive, integrated web application security for business-critical web applications. AppWall is part of Radware’s suite of cybersecurity and application delivery solutions that enable providers to maintain business continuity and availability to meet stringent customer SLAs while securing valuable data and maintaining scalable, flexible application management.

FastView and LinkProof

FastView is used for application acceleration and front-end optimization. LinkProof is used for disaster recovery, multi-homing, and WAN connectivity. Both are part of Radware’s application delivery controller solutions that accelerate and load balance applications.

Advantages and Benefits of Radware’s Application Delivery Solutions

Radware’s application delivery solutions offer several unique advantages:

Cost-Effective: Radware’s application delivery load balancing solutions deliver services in the most cost-effective way, ensuring the fastest return on investment.

Bullet-Proof Security: Radware’s solutions have built-in security features that provide robust protection for applications.

Improved Quality and Reliability: Automation can eliminate human errors and ensure that all instances of ADC are configured and managed consistently and according to best practices across different environments.

Scalability: Radware’s solutions are scalable, reducing capacity planning risks.

Seamless Integration: Radware’s products seamlessly integrate with leading business applications from Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, IBM, and VMware.

Faster Web Application Response Time: Radware’s solutions improve the response time of web applications.

Guaranteed Application Availability: Radware’s solutions guarantee application availability under any circumstances, with application-aware traffic redirection capabilities.

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