Quality of Service, or QoS, is a vital aspect of network data traffic management. QoS technology allows businesses to prioritize data categories based on their importance.
While all data is important to an organization, operators must give certain services preferential access to network resources. When combined with Class of Service (CoS) principles, QoS helps companies make sure resources are prioritized correctly.
CoS is a specific methodology for managing web traffic. It is often used interchangeably with QoS, but the two terms refer to different aspects of data traffic management.
QoS is the overall process of prioritizing traffic, whereas CoS defines specific priority classes that QoS uses to monitor and differentiate network traffic.
There are two primary CoS service types: Guaranteed and Controlled Load.
Web traffic categorized in this service class will receive “guarantees” against delay and bandwidth shortages. Guaranteed service only controls the maximal allowed queuing delay, not the average delay of data packets.
Controlled load services do not provide guarantees regarding delay and bandwidth. However, they do allow applications to perform better as compared to the “best-effort” service.
Applications in the controlled load service class should receive a similar quality of service regardless of “heavy” or “light” loads. However, an excessive influx of traffic may cause minor disruptions or jitters.
While providing end-point users with minimal service disruptions and an enjoyable web experience has always been important, organizations rarely needed QoS technology to accomplish this goal.
However, proactive network data traffic management has become a necessity for many modern businesses for two reasons:
Many organizations have ramped up their reliance on hybrid working environments and digital resources over the last few years.
Live Zoom meetings, increased video media streaming, and the transition to online training have all put increased strain on businesses’ finite bandwidths.
Hybrid working environments are becoming increasingly common due to the substantial company and employee benefits they offer, so the shift towards virtual collaborations isn’t likely to slow down. If businesses want these collaborative efforts to remain reliable and efficient, you will need to leverage QoS solutions.
The primary benefit of Quality of Service technologies is that they allow your IT department to reduce data traffic disruptions. By prioritizing certain applications through QoS, you can ensure that vital resources are available when team members need them.
For instance, your QoS team should give collaborative tools like Zoom a higher CoS priority than email. While a delay of a few seconds or minutes for an email isn’t likely to be noticed, delays of any length during a video conference call can cause significant disruptions.
Three aspects of application performance that QoS will address include:
The primary benefit of QoS technology is that it improves the reliability of essential applications. During the integration process, you should consider which applications are most valuable to your company’s daily operation.
Jitter occurs as the result of network congestion and ruins the quality of audiovisual applications and results from inconsistent speed in the transfer of data packets. QoS reduces jitters in apps that are in the guaranteed service class.
QoS technology also provides your business with bandwidth management capabilities. Your IT department can ensure that the inflow does not exceed capacity by regulating traffic flows on your networks, preventing network congestion.
QoS also allows administrators to set bandwidth limits based on CoS classifications.
When integrating Quality of Service solutions into a network, adhering to QoS and CoS best practices will reduce the risks of disruptions to existing resources.
There are three primary QoS and CoS implementation models:
The Best Effort model is the simplest option for implementing QoS. It is a passive approach that does not utilize any customizable QoS mechanism. It is becoming far less prevalent due to the performance benefits of the more capable options.
Also referred to as IntServ, the Integrated Services model focuses primarily on traffic flow sources and destinations. IntServ is a good solution for smaller networks and provides precise control over the end-to-end flow.
DiffServ, or the Differentiated Services model, is often referred to as the soft QoS model. DiffServ relies on the CoS class system and provides certain applications preferential access to resources based on assigned class. DiffServ is the most comprehensive QoS solution available.
When preparing to implement QoS and CoS, you should:
These five steps are essential to QoS and CoS implementation.
While implementing QoS may seem like a massive undertaking, a few tools make it easier.
There is a wide array of QoS tools available, depending on the applications and software your organization uses. These tools can be divided into three broad categories: queuing, identifying, and policing.
During your QoS deployment, you will need to use at least one tool in each category.
Microsoft Teams has a built-in queuing tool that will allow you to set QoS parameters for your MSFT applications. Once you have configured your QoS policy, MSFT will queue data based on your preferences.
Zoom also allows you to identify QoS traffic using DSCP markers. These markers are inserted into IP headers to differentiate audio, video, and other forms of traffic.
The policing tools in the QoS will use these markers to prioritize the right traffic. This method ensures that your domain-connected devices receive the same settings across your entire network.
Unlike MSFT, Google Meet specifically recommends not using QoS standards.
However, they do provide QoS guides. When using QoS Standards with Meet, add Quality of Service software to the Meet clients and the network edge. This setup should allow you to prioritize your traffic based on organizational needs.
Regardless of which applications you use, Quality of Service control can be an invaluable asset to your organization.
When leveraged appropriately, QoS and CoS best practices will allow you to increase reliability and provide better experiences for your end-users.