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Introduction to IOS QoS Tools 93

Chapter 4, “Congestion Management,” covers each of the queuing tools in detail.

Shaping and Policing

Because shaping and policing provide two different functions, you may wonder why shaping and policing are covered here at the same time. The simple answer is this: Networks that use policing typically need shaping as well. Also both shaping and policing measure the rates at which traffic is sent and received in a network, so some of the underlying features are similar. Both can be described using similar metaphors of “token buckets.” Finally, from a business perspective, shaping and policing are typically implemented at or near the edge between an enterprise and a service provider. Therefore, when considering whether you need to use one type of tool, you need to be thinking about the other type.

Traffic shaping, or shaping, delays packets by putting packets in a queue, even when real bandwidth is available. It’s like being at the bank. A teller finishes with a customer, and you’re next in line. You have to wait another minute or two, however, while the teller finishes doing some paperwork for the preceding customer. Why would a router ever want to delay packets? Well, the short answer is “because delaying these packets is better than what happens if you don’t delay them.” Figure 2-4 shows just one example where shaping is useful.

Figure 2-4 Sample Network, Speed Mismatch (T/1 and 128 kbps)

Figure Shows QoS for Packets Flows Right-to-Left

 

 

 

CIR: 64 kbps

 

 

 

 

R3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 x 1500

 

 

 

Bc: 12,000 bits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Byte Packets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AR:

 

 

 

FIFO Output Queue

 

from Local

 

 

 

 

 

LAN Users

 

128 kbps

 

 

 

AR: T1

1

2

3

 

Up to 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

......

 

 

 

R2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRS2

 

FRS3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queue Backs up on FRS2

This example results in a large queue forming at Frame Relay Switch 2 (FRS2) due to the speed mismatch between the access links at R2 and R3. In this example, 50 1500-byte packets arrive over R3’s Ethernet during a 500-ms span, needing to be delivered to R2. If all 50 packets were to arrive one after the other, with no gaps, a queue would form on R3’s S0 interface. Because it takes a little less than 10 ms to send a 1500-byte packet over T/1, however, all 50 packets would drain from the queue within that 500 ms.

94 Chapter 2: QoS Tools and Architectures

However, because the access link between FRS2 and R2 clocks at 128 kbps, it takes almost 100 ms to serialize a 1500-byte packet. So, although some queuing happens at R3, FRS2’s egress queue on the link to R2 fills—in this case, it needs to be 45 packets long. (Five packets could be sent over this link during the 500 ms that the rest of the packets are arriving.)

What happens if FRS2’s maximum egress queue size is only 20 frames? In such a scenario, around half of the frames are discarded. What is the impact? The quality of voice and video streams degrades. Most data applications resend their data—which may well cause the same phenomena all over again. Both results, of course, are bad.

Traffic shaping solves this particular problem. If R3 had just waited and sent one 1500-byte packet every 100 ms, because FRS2 can send one 1500-byte packet in a little less than 100 ms, no queue would have formed on FRS2’s egress interface. Even if R3 were to send one 1500-byte packet every 50 ms, FRS2’s egress queue would grow, but only a few packets would be lost.

Whenever a speed mismatch occurs, shaping may be able to reduce the chance that packets get dropped. In the previous example, a speed mismatch occurred on the access rates of two Frame Relay-connected routers. In other cases, it may be that many VCs terminate at one router, and the collective VC committed information rate (CIRs) far exceed the access rate (oversubscription). In either case, queues may form, and they may form in a place where the engineer cannot control the queue—inside the Frame Relay cloud.

Shaping may help in one other specific case: when the Frame Relay service provider uses policing. The service provider may need to limit a VC to use just the CIR amount of bandwidth. Most providers, as well as their customers, expect the Frame Relay data terminal equipment (DTE) to send more than the CIR across each VC. However, the provider may decide that in this case, they need to prevent R3 and R2 from sending more than CIR. Why? For many reasons, but one common reason may be that a particular part of their network may have enough capacity to support the CIRs of all VCs for all customers, but not much bandwidth beyond that. To protect customers from each other, the provider may limit each VC to CIR, or some percentage over CIR, and discard the excess traffic.

The QoS tool used to monitor the rate, and discard the excess traffic, is called traffic policing, or just policing. Because the provider is monitoring traffic sent by the customer, traffic policers typically monitor ingress traffic, although they can monitor egress traffic as well. Figure 2-5 shows the same network, but with policing and shaping enabled for traffic entering FRS3 from R3.

Introduction to IOS QoS Tools 95

Figure 2-5 Traffic Policing and Shaping

 

 

Step 4:

 

Step 3:

 

 

 

Step 2:

 

 

Step 1:

1 1500 Byte Packet

FR Switch Polices

 

 

R3 Shapes:

 

50 Packets

 

Takes Less Than

Allowing 1 1500 Byte

 

 

1 1500 Byte

 

Arrive at About

100 ms at 128 kbps;

Packet per 200 ms

 

Packet per 100 ms

 

the Same Time

 

Queue Does Not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Form on FRS2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

3

 

 

 

200 ms

100 ms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AR:

1

3

 

 

1

2

3

4

1 2 3 4 .... 50

 

 

128 kbps

 

 

 

R2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R3

 

 

 

 

 

FRS2

 

 

FRS3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queue Does Not

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back up

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on FRS2

Discarded

In the shaping discussion, one solution involved sending only one 1500-byte packet every 100 ms, which prevented an egress queue from forming on FRS2. As seen in this figure, however, the ingress policer on FRS3 monitors incoming traffic on the VC from R3 to R2, allowing only one 1500-byte packet per 200 ms. Policers discard the excess traffic, which in this case, even with shaping enabled on R3, half of the packets will be discarded when the network is busy!

The solution, when the provider enables policing, is to configure shaping such that R3 only sends traffic at a rate that the policer function allows. In summary, some of the reasons behind shaping and policing are as follows:

Packets might be lost in a multiaccess WAN due to access rate speed mismatch, oversubscription of CIRs over an access link, or by policing performed by the provider.

Traffic shaping queues packets when configured traffic rates are exceeded, delaying those packets, to avoid likely packet loss.

Traffic policing discards packets when configured traffic rates are exceeded, protecting other flows from being overrun by a particular customer.

Shaping and Policing Tools

QoS shaping and policing tools provide you with a variety of methods. As usual, you may consider many factors when comparing these tools. (Table 2-4 lists a few of these factors.) First, not all shaping and policing tools support every data-link protocol. Second, some tools can be enabled on a subinterface, but not on a per data-link connection identifier (DLCI); therefore, in cases where a network uses multipoint subinterfaces, one tool may give more granularity for