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QoS And a Service Aware MPLS Core - Questions You Must Ask Your Service Provider Introduction

Published on 19 September 13

As a company or customer depending on your telephone or internet service providers all the time, you need to know that you're always getting the most for your money. If you suddenly get a huge number of calls, or payments/transfers through your online servers, then you the comfort of knowing that you can handle all that traffic at once.

Below are some facts you should be aware of about Quality of Service, or 'QoS', and Multiprotocol Label Switching, or MPLS. We also take a look at some questions you should be asking your service provider to ensure that you're getting what you paid for.

The Breakdown

Quality of Service is something that you may be entitled to, which means you can make sure you're receiving the highest standard of service available from your provider. A simple phone call, armed with the right knowledge, can ensure that you're always up and running when bandwidth is stretched and phone lines are filling up fast.

In terms of your phone services, requirements for QoS cover every aspect of your connection. The level of service response time, echo, frequency and loudness etc, all count towards the quality of your service. Your computer network follows slightly different rules in terms of QoS, but in the end needs to achieve the same thing. Rather than the focussing on what service is being provided, it's more about how that service is controlled when it gets to you. You could be paying for a whole load of speed, but when it's dumped on you, you need to be able to use it and send it out properly. Quality of service all about prioritising different applications, users and flow. It's also about how to make sure you achieve a level of performance in tight circumstances.
QoS And a Service Aware MPLS Core - Questions You Must Ask Your Service Provider Introduction - Image 1

Moving swiftly onto the term 'MPLS' or 'multiprotocol label switching'. Don't let the long name confuse you, an MPLS network is what you need for great traffic control. Labels are given to data packets in this kind of network, and this means that when transferring data, decisions are made by simply looking at the label. It would take far longer to check out the whole packet's contents, so this is a great way to make end-to-end circuits without depending on a specific data link layer.

You Rang?

Now you know a little more about the terms, and what you should be getting, it's time to pick up the phone and ask for more bang for your buck. Your service provider won't get many calls concerning QoS or an MPLS core, because the truth is that few people are aware of it, and its importance. Skilled IT technicians and engineers (like those at Unifi Communications), however, will know exactly what you need and should be more than willing to help.

You'll need certain things to be guaranteed, especially if your network needs multimedia streaming, online applications, games and IP-TV. These are traffic heavy requirements, and you should ask about what they can guarantee you. Make sure you bombard them with your new-found knowledge so that they know you mean business. You should be asking them to guarantee a required bit rate, jitter, probability of packet dropping, and delay etc.
QoS And a Service Aware MPLS Core - Questions You Must Ask Your Service Provider Introduction - Image 2

Following Protocol

Now that you've asked the right questions, you should expect some answers. A network or protocol that supports QoS might come to an agreement via a traffic contract. This will mean that you can get reserve capacity in the network nodes. The outcome of this is that when you need it most during that influx of video calls, or online game overload, your reserves will stop your network from coming to a standstill. While you're up and running, your level of performance should be monitored so that priorities can be controlled on a dynamic basis. Your resources won't be used when you don't need them, and will be there to provide everything you need when you do.


Your phone call might not be a quick one, and it might take some time and a lot of tweaking before you're up and running with everything you need. One thing is certain though, when that heavy traffic does arrive, your applications will come through with flying colours. You may not even need to spend a penny! Whether it costs, or it's included in your current contract, be sure that QoS and MPLS are vital to the success of your service. Customer satisfaction and the service you provide, and are provided with, will both improve dramatically in those crucial moments when you need it to most. As they say, ask, and you shall find.

Image credits: Sean MacEntee and plenty.r.
This blog is listed under Networks & IT Infrastructure Community

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