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QoS and the Last 10 Feet

March 19, 2009 - 1 Comment

conference callingCisco and the industry have invested a lot of time, money and effort into enabling routers and switches to provide Quality of Service (QoS). That is, the ability to prioritize traffic that requires special treatment, like real time voice and video traffic, over other traffic that can get to the destination a little slower, like email. The beauty of IP is that these packets can carry virtually any application, making the handling a variety of services over a single IP NGN network possible.So what is the deal when I am on a VoIP phone call from my home office, presenting to my boss, and all the sudden he says “Mike, you are breaking up, we can’t understand you. Mike? Mike………..Mike we are going to have to move on to the next presenter, see if you can call back on a hard line.” Hmmmm, is that good for my career? Now I know from experience that many Service Providers have turned these QoS capabilities on in their network and in fact even leverage new capabilities like hierarchical per-subscriber QoS that Cisco offers in our Ethernet edge routers like the ASR 9000. So what gives?My hypothesis is that one of the challenges we are seeing today is congestion in the access network (e.g. DSL) combined with strained performance of home routers and even personal computers that may contain a VoIP soft client. For example, I recently switched out my home router and also hard wired 100M Ethernet connections inside my home. For me, this has done wonders to improve my VoIP experience…even when I am receiving large video files from one of my relatives (not to be named here) who has way too much time on their hands.

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  1. We tend to forget about the last 10 feet and usually mess it up with multiple routers, switches and network cards. Good hardware is a must, be it SOHO or home. Thank you for bringing the subject up!