Do we need quality of service in the customer environment?


The paper introduces the concept of quality of service (QoS) in the customer environment, as related to broadband customer premises equipment. The paper describes the BT vision for the customer environment, with a QoS-enabled ‘customer gateway’ and ‘home networks’ delivering a range of broadband services to the end user. The reasons behind the need for QoS are discussed and the differing requirements of the downstream (network to end user) as distinct from the upstream (end user to network) data paths are described.

Incorporating downstream QoS protocols in the customer gateway is less likely to give an effective perceived performance benefit due to the simple fact that the traffic priority is essentially predetermined by the network/service provider and only marginal benefits can be seen by its application. Extending downstream QoS across the home network will be essential to provide an effective customer experience. The paper looks at the future strategy for implementing QoS, not just within the customer gateway, but also up to the end terminal, as it should be remembered that all elements of the service such as end user appliances, home networks, customer gateways, the network provider and service provider all have their own distinct parts to play to guarantee the best quality of service and customer experience.

The paper concludes that the predominant area for QoS implementation in the customer environment, is in the upstream direction where even a basic QoS implementation such as simple queuing is likely to give noticeable improvements in the customer experience. New real-time services such as voice over IP (VoIP) will require upstream QoS.

Thus it should be possible to specify QoS enhancements that are straightforward and likely to be simple (and therefore cost effective) to implement, in low-cost CPE. The paper concludes that it is essential that the next generation of customer gateways and home networks, support appropriate QoS functionality to support new services delivered over BT’s network.

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Galbraith, R., Turnbull, J., Dearnaley, R. et al. Do we need quality of service in the customer environment?. BT Technol J 23, 146–159 (2005).

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  • Home Network
  • Network Provider
  • Customer Experience
  • Upstream Direction
  • Broadband Service