QoS or More Bandwidth. Where do you stand?

I keep running into this and I thought it would be an interesting question. Quality of Service is a pretty common network configuration to help with ensuring your voice quality on enterprise networks. I have come across a number of large enterprises (10,000 + endpoints) that have deployed IP telephony and haven’t deployed QoS. They have gone for the approach of keeping the network simple and making sure there is adequate bandwidth.

The benefits of QoS are of course well documented and not just limited to voice. It certainly brings forward a number of points about cost of network to complete QoS over bandwidth upgrades and to what level is voice and video acceptable. Of course the world’s largest network (the Internet) doesn’t support QoS with millions of people using it for voice, video and everything else every day. So what side of the argument do you stand?

Comments welcomed.



  1. There are two sides of this argument really. One is to use the 'throw more bandwidth at it' which you mention above. However, bandwidth is not always cheap, so some companies would rather make the most efficient use of their bandwidth as a cheaper alternative.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Certainly QoS is a way to avoid bandwidth upgrades over the WAN but there is certainly a cost to QoS in network equipement and configuration. Large companies can spend millions in network upgrades and man hours to support QoS. Not that I am against QoS but there is certainly a case for is it the best solution?


  3. For a small or medium company (<500 users) it is likely impossible to invest into QoS capable network devices, find an ISP that offers MPLS, pay the monthly price of such a connection.

    What you can do, is to upgrade your internet connection with additional megabits. However, without any basic traffic management, that bandwidth will be used immediately by web traffic, p2p etc.. So it is not really a solution, some kind of QoS is needed on the edge of your network.

  4. I agree with Matt, I dont think there will be one answer that fits all so to speak. I think every client and every situation will be different. For example, there may be global companies in areas of the world that bandwidth is a hefty premium, others where bandwidth is much cheaper. Now I do think with the efficiency of the traffic, the matter of which QoS is deployed and designed has changed as where is used to be that QoS was an automatic recommendation for large scale voice deployments where now QoS is not the automatic recommendation where the management of the bandwidth has to be part of the overall solution and deployment.

  5. "Large" enterprises that are mature are likely to already have been on the path to QoS for other reasons besides VoIP.

    Network QoS capabilities are not a new tool for engineers, they have just evolved to be either more powerful (you could read complex I guess) to more automated.

    Bandwidth is still a cost item, no matter what your source (MPLS, ISP, etc) and I don't know of a single large "enterprise" that is happy to increase an operational cost as opposed to finding mechanisms to keep run rates flow or trending down.

    As stated by Mark, the answer lies somewhere in between. There are portions of enterprise networks that QoS is not going to be a necessity because of the infrastructure and there will be within the same enterprise situations that QoS must be present because its not cost effective or even technically possible to just "throw bandwidth" at the problem.


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