Understanding QoS for timing-sensitive applications

By Tom Henderson, ITworld.com |  Networking

Many organizations view Quality of Service (QoS) management as an afterthought -- an issue to be dealt with only when the need arises. That's a shame because Windows 2000, far more than any previous version of Windows, is able to respond to the needs of applications that require QoS.

Proactively implementing Windows 2000's new QoS features can improve the performance of both isochronous (timing-sensitive) and non-isochronous applications. The trick is understanding how to use the available tools.








 QoS on Windows 2000 





Read the entire series







In "Multimedia vs. your network," I provided an overview of QoS concepts. This week I'll discuss the structure and needs of isochronous applications in more detail.

The Winsock connection

In Windows 2000, QoS is enabled by a combination of kernel resources triggered by applications requesting QoS services. That occurs through the Windows Sockets API (also known as Winsock).

It's worth remembering that QoS protocols, being part of the underlying infrastructure, are transparent to users. A strange quality of QoS is that users don't know when they're benefitting from it -- they just know their apps work. And maybe it's better that way, since an application's priority implies a privileged status that could become the crux of arguments.

Quantitative (timing-based) routing

Through Winsock, applications can manage several different protocols and relationships that have a bearing on QoS. Applications can either directly manipulate streams of data -- a process that requires timing -- or use policies. I'll cover policies in detail in my next and final QoS installment.

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