Quality of Service and Network Performance: The Basics

Quality of Service and Network Performance: The Basics

As much as we wish it wasn’t so, network performance can fluctuate. Depending on your enterprise’s data usage, your network may not be able to handle every packet or data transferal optimally. That can be a huge problem when your company uses the network for business-critical applications, which usually requires a lot of network space. To remedy this, many network teams implement quality of service (QoS) technologies that provision resources for critical uses.

QoS allows the network to reserve capacity and serviceability for important applications or traffic. This helps ensure that the network’s core functions will always operate at their peak, even if the rest of the network is slow. QoS capabilities give enterprises the guarantee that their critical applications will run smoothly during times of poor network performance. Read on to learn more about quality of service and how it can impact the performance of your network.

What quality of service does

The main aspect of QoS is allocating specific network resources to designated applications and traffic flow. This ensures that mission-critical operations can always perform at their peak level. QoS also orders data transfers according to their importance, meaning that the most critical packets are sent first. By doing so, the network can deliver important information before other data has the chance to slow the network down. Queuing packets and traffic flows gives a network the ability to manage every data request and answer them in an order that won’t harm the performance of critical applications.

Measurements that QoS looks at

To maintain quality network perform, QoS technologies look for specific measurements to determine future courses of action. These measurements inform the QoS system of the network’s current performance, allowing it to effectively manage the network’s activities. Measurements that QoS solutions look for include:

  • Bandwidth usage. The QoS tool needs to know how much bandwidth is currently in use and how much is available. This tells it how packed the network is and informs it on how it should order future data transmissions.
  • Latency. QoS monitors for delays in data transmissions along the network that could lead to congestion.
  • Packet loss. If a packet is dropped before it reaches its destination, the QoS system helps ensure retransmitted packets don’t disrupt other activity on the network.

Why quality of service?

A business needs a strong, reliable network. Without one, they can’t efficient operate their day-to-day routines. For enterprises that have multiple networks in their infrastructure, strong network performance is even more crucial. Quality of service ensures that your network always has the resources it needs to run your critical applications, even during peak hours or periods of network slowdown and congestion.

Many network performance monitoring (NPM) solutions come equipped with QoS capabilities. NPMs with QoS functions not only inform you of how your network is doing, but takes steps to manage and operate it smoothly. With QoS, applications that pull a lot of resources from the network can operate to their maximum capacity. An NPM can also inform you of when your business-critical applications are draining too much of your network, which can be a sign that you need to upgrade your network hardware.


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Daniel Hein

Dan is a tech writer who writes about Enterprise Cloud Strategy and Network Monitoring for Solutions Review. He graduated from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein

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