What is QoS or Network “Quality of Service”?


QoS, or “Quality of Service” functionality in your network switching environment is getting to be more and more important as VoIP and voice solutions make their way into office networks.

Cisco’s Jimmy Ray Purser makes QoS easy to wrap your head around in this video Cisco produced:

For those without video or audio access in the office, here’s a written transcript of the QoS overview:

Video Transcript

What is QoS, and what does it mean to your business? Well, simply, QoS is “Quality of Service”, and it allows me to look at certain types of traffic ‑ certain data types if you will ‑ and make sure that they always get through the network, or they’ve got the best chance of making it end‑to‑end. Quality of Service is really important when it comes to deploying a network, especially if I’m going to run voice over it.

I want to make sure that my voice traffic always gets through to the network, and it allows me to actually set a number, a priority on that traffic, to say that ‑ OK, it tells the switch when it’s actually doing all its internal workings, and it says, “OK, if you get to busy, I need you to make sure that you service this traffic first.” So let’s say, for example, it’s my voice traffic. “I want to make sure that you drop this other traffic or you don’t process it and you process this voice stuff first.”

And QoS is really valuable for that in defining how my traffic flows in my network. Now, this is something that any small to medium business needs to look at if they’re going to start adding voice on the network. I don’t think QoS is really that big of a deal if I’m just talking data‑only. If I’m doing data stuff, I’m just transferring that, I’ve got my phones hooked up another way, it just isn’t worth the trouble to run QoS on servers and things of that nature.

But the second I start putting voice on there, then the game starts changing a little bit because I have to actually make sure that I load that up and configure it correctly. Now, it’s important if you’re a small‑to‑medium business and you have even a chance of looking at an IP voice network that you buy a switch hardware that actually will support QoS and VLAN’s to support this new infrastructure so I can prioritize that and get it through. Very, very important stuff.

I strongly recommend that any new hardware is QoS ready, which most of the stuff is today. But that’s what QoS can actually do for your business. I’m Jimmy Ray Purser. Thanks for joining me today.