Quality of Service (QoS) is a set of techniques and technologies that are designed to optimize the performance of an organization’s network. This technology can help to ensure that high-priority and performance-sensitive applications are capable of continuing to operate effectively even with limited bandwidth and high network congestion. QoS functionality can be integrated into network solutions, such as an organization’s network firewall.
Different applications within an organization’s IT infrastructure have different network requirements. Some applications have decreased tolerance for packet loss, delay, and jitter (when packets for streaming applications have different inter-packet delays). If these stricter requirements are not met, the application’s performance may be degraded, or the application may not be able to function at all.
In most cases, it is not feasible to provide all traffic on an organization’s network with the performance (packet loss, delay and jitter) required by the strictest application on the network. Quality of Service helps to provide optimal performance on the network by ensuring that the applications with stricter requirements have those requirements met.
The core of Quality of Service (QoS) is application identification. Every application running on an organization’s network has a unique traffic signature. If an organization’s network infrastructure is capable of identifying an application based upon its traffic, then application-specific policies can be applied to the traffic.
This enables the network infrastructure to perform optimization based upon an application’s unique needs. Some example optimizations include:
By applying these optimizations, an organization’s network can work more efficiently and can provide optimal performance to the applications that need it the most.
QoS solutions provide a number of benefits. Some of the major ones include:
QoS can be implemented at the network level within an organization’s IT environment. If all traffic flows through a particular device, that device can be used to identify the various application sources, perform traffic prioritization, and apply other application-specific policies.
The need for all traffic to pass through the QoS device makes a next-generation firewall (NGFW) a perfect solution for implementing QoS. A network firewall is used to define and enforce a network boundary. This means that all traffic passing through this boundary must also pass through the firewall. The firewall can easily perform application identification, apply application-specific policies, and take action as needed.
Support for QoS is a feature that you should look for when evaluating potential firewall solutions. For more information on evaluating firewall options, check out this buyer’s guide. You’re also welcome to request a free demo to see how Check Point firewalls can help to improve your organization’s network performance and security.