Originally published in MOREnetworking Vol. 1 No. 9, June 2003
What is “Quality of Service” and why do I need it?
Quality of Service, also called bandwidth management, is a method by which traffic on a network can be identified and assigned a priority depending upon how important that sort of network traffic is to the organization.
For example, if you use videoconferencing over your network, you may have noticed that sometimes the video skips, or hangs. One of the reasons this may happen is that there is too much traffic on the network and the video signal has to compete with all that other traffic to get through. While this may not be a problem with some sorts of network traffic, videoconferencing is an application that is quite sensitive to this sort of thing.
The need for bandwidth management has become more apparent in the past several years as file sharing has become an issue, especially on college campuses. The large files typically swapped by such applications as Kazaa and Morpheus consume considerable amounts of available bandwidth. By implementing bandwidth management techniques, network administrators can prioritize essential traffic such as videoconferencing and place a lower priority on other sorts of network traffic.
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