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Everyday Quality of Service

Posted on 4.30.2013

Efficiency is everything when it comes to running a business. That is why many companies are turning to Quality of Service (or QoS) technologies and techniques to manage their network traffic and improve the end-user experience in an affordable, efficient manner.

What is QoS, Exactly?

For those unfamiliar with QoS, it is a set of standards and mechanisms that ensure website and application performance, including availability (or uptime), latency and error rates. QoS allows businesses to meet servicelevel requirements for a workload by measuring the allocated network bandwidth, detecting changing network conditions and prioritizing network traffic based on the findings.

QoS can focus on a network interface, as well as a specific server or router’s performance or applications. It can also establish a guaranteed throughput level in the face of network congestion, while permitting higher bandwidth utilization when there is no congestion. At the end of the day, the result is better quality service for the selected traffic types.

What Does It Do for Me?

The point of QoS is to make sure that technologies get the bandwidth they require to perform tasks at consistent and efficient levels, so that more “important” traffic is not slowed down or delayed. This dramatically improves network performance, which results in more satisfied users. Although QoS is particularly useful for large enterprise environments that see a lot of traffic, it can also benefit small offices or even home networks.

How Do I Use QoS?

Network environments that can use QoS range from Ethernet to wireless to Frame Relay networks. Administrators are able to set a desired level of service for each traffic type on the network, and through QoS will be able to determine which traffic should be given priority on a specific network segment.

Typically, a network monitoring system must be deployed as part of QoS initiatives, so before implementing a QoS strategy, first identify the primary objectives to accomplish. For example, pin point network services that will benefit the most and assign priority to those businesses applications, such as VoIP, CRM or SaaS apps.

Once it is known what QoS can/ should be used for, it is essential to analyze the service-level requirements for the application(s) and be aware of technical issues that may cause a delay or impairment in the end-user experience. This allows for prioritizing the issues of highest concern (either because they’re especially problematic or because they are typically used by a large number of people). Companies can then implement and prioritize their QoS technology to meet those needs.

The next step is to start baselining and auditing the network. This is the part where the state and capabilities of a network are assessed and any existing QoS settings that are in place are identified. Most do this by implementing network management platforms to capture and analyze traffic or throughput utilization and inventory the network, as well as seek out any existing QoS policies and identify the equipment that is currently in use that can benefit from QoS. Ultimately, this provides an enterprise and its IT staff with an indepth awareness about the network and reduces the time and cost of finding, analyzing and deploying QoS in the future.

What Next?

Once a network has been thoroughly analyzed and QoS deployed, the next step is to begin monitoring performance and effectiveness, by comparing new data with the network’s performance before deployment. This reveals trends and lets a company visualize performance improvements for end users, which can provide information about other ways to optimize websites and applications.

Of course, there will be some maintenance required to uphold network performance and reliability, adjust QoS policies (to accommodate new applications or types of traffic), accelerate IT enhancements and even reduce the time it takes to locate performance problems. Remember, the success of a Web enterprise depends on the efficiency of its daily operations. If implementing QoS can improve an area of a network’s performance, now is the time to do it.

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