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Quality of Service and Defining Network Priorities

Your colleague tells you he’s just emailed you a report to review today. You click refresh on your email client, and it hasn’t yet arrived. You wait three seconds, click refresh. There, the report has arrived.

Later, you’re talking to a client over a video chat. The call begins clear, but at a certain point, it starts to cut out. There’s a delay. You ask a client a question, and they reply with a three-second delay. “Pardon?” Did you miss something?

These common scenarios highlight where Quality of Service plays an important role in your business network. A three-second delay can be unremarkable or painful. In the past, different networks supported voice, internet, and other services. Now, with the rise of internet-based voice and video services, one network receives increasing demands. Different types of traffic can cause a number of network quality issues. IT companies in Ottawa often see this network issue.

Quality of Service, or QoS, manages the priorities of your network.

What is QoS?

Quality of Service or QoS enables a network device to differentiate traffic and then apply various behaviors based on the traffic type. QoS sets priorities, shapes network traffic, and manage or avoids congestion. It’s a common service offered by IT Support Companies in Ottawa.

How to Define Network Priorities

QoS can be implemented in different ways. The Internet Engineering Task Force has developed different models and mechanisms for Internet Protocol packet-based networks. It is an international standard also used by Ottawa computer services providers. The most broadly adopted model is called Differentiated Services, or DiffServ. Under DiffServ, each packet passed through the network has a DS field in its header. Each device on the network reads the header and accordingly divides it into a class of service (CoS) and the packet loss preference.

The DS field uses 6-bit, allowing network devices to have up to 64 different classes. This number of classes provides network administrators, Ottawa computer services, and others to have the flexibility to define classes.

While there a range of defined classes, a few of the most common ones are:

  • Best Effort (BE) – the default class for any packet that does not meet the requirements of other classes.
  • Expedited Forwarding – the class often used for voice, video and other real-time applications. Packets have strict priority queueing to minimize the wait for delay-sensitive traffic.
  • Assured Forwarding (AF) – the class that receives higher priority than Best Effort as it will have priority while traffic is below a prescribed rate.

Considerations for Implementing QoS on Your Network

QoS will improve service within your network limits, but it does not increase your network’s overall bandwidth. However, if your network is reaching capacity, QoS is a band-aid, not a long-term solution.

You can work you’re your system administrator or an Ottawa computer services company to implement QoS on your existing network. QoS may be implemented already by an administrator or it may come embedded in some devices. However, the QoS system must be implemented on each device in the network in order for QoS to work.

QoS is an important solution to manage varying amounts of network traffic. It is an important tool IT companies in Ottawa use to improve network performance. It can optimize the usage of your existing network and smooth out times of heightened traffic.