Jan 15 2015

Lay Person’s Guide to Quality of Service

Let’s say that a popular entertainer decides to live stream her mid-afternoon concert over YouTube and several of your employees tune in – at the same time. Would your mission critical applications maintain top priority status or would your most important business applications be forced to wait until network traffic returns to normal?

What is Best-Effort Delivery?

If your network infrastructure is based upon “best-effort” data transmission, situations such as the one described above could put your business in a bind. Best-effort plans manage network traffic on a “first-come, first served basis”. While these plans may be more affordable than using a private network, the tradeoff is that you’re forced to share your data connection with countless other customers.

The best-effort delivery model works well for consumers and small businesses that use the Internet intermittently to carry out routine online functions. However, these plans are inadequate for businesses with frequent urgent data delivery needs.

For instance, some of the most common VoIP services – such as Skype and Vonage — rely on best effort delivery; i.e., shared Internet networks to power their products. Sometimes the calls are crystal clear, while other times you may as well be talking underwater.

What is QoS?

QoS stands for quality of service. It refers to the overall performance of a computer network. In today’s business environment it is vital that you have the ability to determine which applications are treated as high priorities and which applications are given lower priority status. Otherwise, your most important traffic would be forced to compete with low-priority applications.

The purpose of implementing QoS, within your network, is to ensure consistent and predictable performance. If your business utilizes VoIP, video conferencing, video on demand or any other applications that have the potential to affect your bottom line, QoS can have a tremendous impact on your operations.

In contrast to best-effort plans that use shared networks; QoS plans typically use private network connections. Here are a few things to consider before choosing someone to manage your network.

What Happens on a Non-QoS Enabled Network

Networks that don’t utilize QoS treat all data the same, resulting in slowdowns throughout the network. It’s like sending your data through a crowded subway without any priority. This leads to a lower quality experience to users and customers attempting to utilize voice. Additionally, this approach to data management means that you have no control over how your data capacity is allocated.

Network Quality

Network quality has the potential to make or break your organization. As a business you need to know that no matter what, your network can handle the data packets that transmit the required application data.

For example, if a VoIP call comes in and the voice data isn’t prioritized; then you will most likely experience poor call quality. As a result, key portions of the call may be translated wrong or could be unintelligible on the receiving end. Translating the wrong information can affect your sales flow, frustrate your customers and lead to communication problems throughout your organization.

These types of issues often arise when networks are unable to distinguish between a data packet and a voice data packet. This can become problematic if your information is routed based on efficiency; i.e., expediting data packets that don’t have voice. That’s because although the voice packets may be time-sensitive, they may not get delivered in a timely manner – unless they’re prioritized.

How Data Prioritization Works

Equivoice can prioritize your applications by assigning a Class of Service (CoS) to each data packet. The CoS determines the priority data type on your network. Instead of having unidentified packets flowing throughout your network, each data packet needing priority is assigned a CoS. The network looks at the data and puts it in the proper CoS.

For example, a CoS is similar to how airline flights classify their seating. First class, business class and economy class would be classes of service in this scenario. You define the privileges of these classes as a distinct set similar to the seating on an airline.

The first class gets the most comfortable seats, great meals, first boarding and other perks. Moving down to business class, you still have nice seats, but the meals aren’t quite as good and the perks aren’t as numerous. Then you have economy class, which guarantees you a seat and that’s all. Each privilege is part of the QoS processes that elevate the priority for the data packets.

When data packets move through the network, think of the boarding process on airlines. The first class gets boarded first, followed by business and tailed by economy class. The first class data packets get their bandwidth allocation before any other classes touch it. A QoS network creates a CoS for voice, marking it as top priority. Your data network can get busy throughout the day due to customer and user demands. Once it reaches a certain load level, QoS kicks in and ensures that only the most important data gets through, while lower priority data waits until bandwidth is available.

QoS Configuration

QoS implementation starts at the origination point and ends at the receiving caller. The local customer’s network and the service provider need QoS on both ends in order to get the highest quality. Equivoice utilizes an end-to-end QoS setup so your mission-critical communication solutions always receive top priority. We can guarantee an improvement in quality for your VoIP and IP infrastructure.

Get More from Your QoS

Want to make your customers and employees happy at the same time? Implement QoS and you’ll eliminate poor network quality; resulting in an improvement in sales, customer support and employee satisfaction. We can explain exactly how it would work with your existing network and plan a trouble-free deployment.

For more information on deploying QoS solutions for your network, contact Equivoice today at 800-398-6696.

See what Equivoice can do for you! Call us Today 800-398-6696