Cisco Automates QoS in Its Switches, Routers

Users can automate configuration of quality of service functions across its switches and routers.

Cisco Systems Inc. earlier this week tackled the complexity issues surrounding deployment of quality of service functions in its switches and routers with new automation features.

Cisco embedded the new AutoQoS function within its IOS and Catalyst Operating System software, allowing users to automate configuration of QoS functions across its switches and routers.

AutoQoS is aimed initially at voice-over-IP (VOIP) applications—especially for small and medium-sized businesses that dont have the expertise and technical resources to test and deploy more complex QoS features.

AutoQoS, initially implemented in Ciscos Catalyst 2950ei, Catalyst 3550 and Catalyst 6500 switch/routers, makes QoS deployments up to three times cheaper and much faster, according to Product Manager Vijay Krishnamoorthy, in San Jose, Calif.

The "secret sauce" in AutoQoS "looks at the configuration of the router, the link state, determines as packets come through whether they are voice packets, and it will make dynamic decisions" about prioritization of packets on the fly, said Krishnamoorthy.

Once enabled, AutoQoS determines which features need to be turned on. For example, it performs stateful inspection of packets to determine which are voice packets. It can also look at a port and determine if a Cisco phone is plugged into it, according to Krishnamoorthy.

The AutoQoS feature can be accessed via a command line interface in the IOS or CatOS software. It also works with the CiscoWorks QoS Policy Manager. Combined, the QPM and QoS features automate applications classification, policy generation, configuration, monitoring and reporting.

CiscoWorks QoS Policy Manager can be used to provide centralized configuration of QoS policies, and provides centralized monitoring and reporting on the status of network operations. It enables campus-to-WAN differentiated services and includes support for network-based application recognition.

Cisco intends to extend the AutoQoS feature to its Catalyst 2600, 2600xm (extended memory), 3600, 3700 and 7200 in the second quarter. It will add AutoQoS to the Catalyst 4500 switches in the third quarter.