Ask the Expert

Are all data packets treated equally?

How much control do providers and users have over the packets that they send over the Internet? Are all packets treated equally?

    Requires Free Membership to View

In general, there's not much that an individual user can do to affect the way that their traffic is treated on the Internet. However, there are measures that organizations can take to control the treatment of different classes of traffic on their network and across the Internet. This technology is known as quality of service (QoS), and it's an active area of networking research and experimentation.

QoS is often used on local networks to ensure that high priority traffic receives precedence over other network uses. For example, if your organization runs a voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system, it's likely that you'd want to prioritize that traffic over data communications. Users are much more likely to tolerate a slowdown in their Internet traffic than a disruption in their telephone conversations.

QoS on the Internet is a trickier issue. The short answer is that there isn't really a single, accepted approach to provide QoS between two arbitrary endpoints. However, an organization can certainly negotiate with its service provider to increase the priority of certain types of traffic on a provider's network segments.

You may also be interested in reading the tip, Analyst debunks network QoS myths, brought to you by SearchNetworking.com.

More information:

  • Read how implementing VoIP requires careful QoS considerations.
  • Visit SearchSecurity.com's Network Access Control Learning Guide.
  • This was first published in February 2007

    There are Comments. Add yours.

     
    TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

    REGISTER or login:

    Forgot Password?
    By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
    Sort by: OldestNewest

    Forgot Password?

    No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

    Your password has been sent to: