QoS – The Network Strikes back

In an attempt to bring order back to the more chaotic nature of modern network communications a new model of classifying traffic. Class of Service (CoS) and Quality of Service (QoS) is the common strategy to take all the traffic going in and out of a site or in and out of an individual computer and drop into different ‘buckets’ which allows for slightly different handling. Items that are time sensitive (such as Voice) get moved to the front of the queue and are handled first then other traffic (like webpages) are delayed. 

The common problems with QoS are; 

  • it can only improve performance to the limit of the network
  • it only really matters when there is competition between different traffic
  • it relies on degrading service to others users or applications
So QoS can’t solve ‘all’ your problems, but can be used to selectively solve specific problems. In most enterprise networks it is easy to make those decisions. There are applications that can easily handle a delay with no perceivable affect on the user. In effect the network is better than is needs to be for that purpose. In other cases, there is a value proposition where the business purpose makes degrading certain traffic acceptable. Example: I care how well my users get to Outlook/Exchange, could care less how fast they get to Facebook. 

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