Driving bandwidth consumption are services such as Voice over IP (VoIP or Internet telephony), video on demand (VoD), and the more conventional data services such an internet and email. But each data type or media source in itself has different characteristics or behaviors that can heavily impact network performance. What that means is that each needs varying levels of switching capacity and bandwidth in order to offer the optimum customer experience.
Understanding the Traffic
What becomes key for service providers is characterizing the type of traffic or media being transported. Moreover, they must determine the Quality of Service (QoS) being experienced at times of peak network load and possible congestion. Such insight can assist network capacity planning teams in determining which media or applications are consuming most network and bandwidth resources on any given network segment.
Often, by analyzing the top services or applications along with the top traffic pairs, it is possible to accurately identify and characterize 70 percent or more of all network traffic. This provides insight into traffic volumes, a classification of traffic content, and key QoS metrics. Armed with that data, network architects, designers, and engineering personnel then can accurately size the underlying network infrastructure.
Additional metrics such as latency or jitter for real-time revenue critical applications such as voice and video can also be useful. This type of data can drive decisions as to where additional capacity should be applied relative to other media sources whose overall volume usage may be greater, but whose dependency on bandwidth and latency may actually be less.
The Benefits Are Clear
The net effect of having this type of information is that companies can make better decisions around network planning. Service providers optimize CAPEX or investment spend, while ensuring the best in customer experience. It’s a win-win situation.