Standard protocols, such as those commonly used on LAN networks, are used to connect nodes to an enterprise network via a wide area wireless network. Within the appropriate protocol stacks, the standard protocols are optimized by filtering some packets, eliminating and reducing the size of other fields and substituting still other fields to reduce the size of the data packets. The optimized data packets can be transmitted over the wireless WAN increasing WAN efficiency. The optimization is accomplished by inserting an additional optimization layer into the protocol stack between the existing layers. The optimization layer accepts the normal protocol signals generated by the surrounding layers and generates outputs which mimic protocol layers which the surrounding layers expect. Consequently, the optimization layer operates transparently with respect to the existing protocol stack layers.