Cisco Systems Inc. has introduced automated quality-of-service functions for nine of its switches and routers, a move aimed at helping users create converged networks that include voice-over-IP (VOIP) capabilities. Currently, setting up IP networks with VOIP support often requires IT managers to do complex manual tuning of each router in a LAN or a WAN, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. The settings are designed to look at IP packets and zip them on their way if they are deemed high priorities, such as voice or video traffic. Because the process is so complex, only 9 percent of companies even turn on quality-of-service functions, Kerravala said. The result, he added, is that some functions, such as VOIP, might not be adopted as widely as they could be.
Cisco claimed that its AutoQoS technology can help companies speed up IP network deployments and reduce installation costs by as much as two-thirds. AutoQoS is free to users with licenses and maintenance agreements for Cisco's internetworking software.
Glenn Whalley, head of IP network engineering at BTexact Technologies in Adastral Park, England, is using AutoQoS to set up routers that support virtual private network services offered by the BT Group PLC unit. "[Quality of service] is complex to implement, and anything automating that is a good thing," he said.
Nortel Networks Ltd. provides technology similar to AutoQoS but hasn't widely publicized its availability, according to Kerravala. Ralph Santitoro, director of network architecture at Nortel, said his company has offered default quality-of-service settings since 1999 on its Passport 8600 Layer 3 core router, several other routers, a VOIP gateway and IP phones. -- Network World US
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