The Death of Best-Effort QoS Testing

By Chris Chapman On March 2, 2010
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Well, it’s official. Testing exclusively with best-effort traffic is dead. Today, even the simplest network implements Quality of Service (QoS). Testing with exclusively best-effort traffic used to be acceptable for numerous reasons: Simplification of testing, the experience of the end user, and the premise that more bandwidth solves all problems.

As with all industries, both the people who make the products (network equipment manufacturers) and the people who consume those products (service providers and enterprise) are becoming more sophisticated. As they have correctly deduced, bandwidth cannot solve all problems. In the end game, the winner is the one that can roll out network services first with consistently high Quality of Experience (QoE). In other words, what will prevent the end customer from calling tech support?

Actually, this level of customer satisfaction is not possible with only best-effort testing. In the modern network, congestion at each hop is a real phenomenon. Just as security exploits and new ultra-low latency and bursty protocols such as P2P, Storage and HD Video over IP, each of these will require a very specific network ecosystem to succeed, which is only achievable with QoS. In a nutshell, every test must be performed with QoS considerations in mind.


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