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Quality of Service versus Traffic Management in Packet Networks

Quality of Service and Traffic Management are related, but different disciplines in packet switched networks, as this brief article explains...


The IP QoS techniques, including IntServ and DiffServ, are concerned with optimising traffic performance on a flow-by-flow and link-by-link basis. The path taken by packets across the network is set by conventional routing protocols for these approaches, that have no ability to optimise the route based upon any signalled or implicit QoS requirements of the traffic. In fact there have been attempts at QoS-based routing, where packets would be forwarded to their destination based upon the destination address and the QoS class of the packet, but these have never been efficient enough to justify widespread deployment.

Traffic engineering is concerned with controlling and directing the flow of traffic across a network topology to optimise traffic and resource performance. Much of the role of traffic engineering is to control the path taken across the network so that resource and traffic performance is optimised.

One perspective on traffic engineering is that is directs traffic away from the path that is determined by conventional routing protocols. ON their given path, packets can then be differentiated in terms of delay and likelyhood of discard by QoS techniques.

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