Are you planning or executing a Voice Project?  Now is a good time to initiate or refresh your company’s QoS policy. Quality of Services (QoS) policies are in place to help ensure high quality voice and video communications, prioritize traffic delivery, optimize bandwidth and reduce bottlenecks. The use of Differentiated Services Code Points (DSCP), as defined in RFC 2474 and 2475, provides a packet field in the IP header to be used in network traffic to assign a code that identifies the priority with which a packet is to be delivered.

Many organizations have created Quality of Service policies that define priority levels for optimizing delivery of networked applications and protocols. Latency intolerant applications, such as voice and video, may be assigned the highest priority. Revenue, customer or patient impacting services, like Customer Resource Management and/or Electronic Medical Records may have a secondary priority assignment. Less time-sensitive applications such as e-mail and web surfing may be given a best effort assignment.

Whenever a company undertakes an update or rollout of a Voice-related project, it is a good time to review an existing QoS policy or an opportunity to establish and implement a new one. Many companies have established best practices as they undertake such projects that includes:

  • Performing an audit – of your networked applications and protocols. As one network engineer put it “it’s kinda hard to define and implement a QoS policy if you don’t know what you have running through your network.”
  • Taking action based on results of the audit – use the information gathered to
    • Determine the specific Classes of Service you want to use given the number and types of applications and protocols discovered.
    • Evaluate and rectify anomolies uncoverd during audit, e.g. retired application services, rogue viruses, traffic mis-configurations.
  • Establishing a periodic review  – to optimize delivery of the services per the QoS settings and determine if different applications should be moved to different priorities or if the organization could benefit from establishing another QoS category.