Say what? QoS in English

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Cisco is scheduled to debut CiscoAssure Policy Networking in the first quarter of 1999. The policy-based management system will support Cisco routers and Catalyst 5000 and 8000 LAN switches.

Cabletron pioneered the idea of policy-based management in 1994 when it announced SecureFast Virtual Networking. SecureFast wasn't successful in gaining market acceptance, but the technology will be incorporated in Cabletron's upcoming policy server. The company has not yet released a ship date for the new server.

It remains to be seen how easy to use and cost-effective these QoS systems will be. Proper network design is crucial to the success of your implementation. QoS is too costly and complex to implement everywhere, and even the most robust QoS capabilities can't overcome poor network design. In campus nets, it makes the most sense to implement QoS in the backbone. In WANs, QoS is better suited for the edge of the network.

Translating vendor-speak

Now that you know the QoS lexicon, the Cisco press release mentioned in the beginning of the story should make a little more sense. The statement means the Catalyst 8500 switch can place every user session in its own queue and can use a queuing algorithm such as WFQ to provide the most appropriate service levels to every flow. The switch manages congestion and also provides traffic policing and shaping.

Queues are created for every user session. All this, along with WFQ, ensures QoS.

This story, "Say what? QoS in English" was originally published by Network World.

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