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No Jitter has a really thought-provoking post from IP network guru Terry Slattery of Netcraftsmen. Terry poses the question: Is QoS becoming irrelevant?

Not too long ago, this question would have been considered heretical. Delivering real-time traffic over IP networks with adequate quality of service (QoS) might have been considered immensely difficult, a sort of Holy Grail even. Network engineers and management vendors worked assiduously at the problem, generally concluding that it’s a moving target and it can never be solved. Your network is bound to be a dynamic, ever-changing environment, so the approach you took to QoS last month might need adjusting this month, after you rolled out that major new application to a significant chunk of the user base.

But irrelevant? How can QoS be irrelevant?

I think the answer lies in a phrase I used a couple paragraphs above: “Your network.” Much of Terry’s discussion in the No Jitter post deals with the fact that less and less of your real-time application traffic is running over your network. The Internet is the most obvious culprit when it comes to disrupting your best-laid QoS plans. The Internet is definitely not your network, and it has a tendency to act accordingly.

But as Terry points out, now that we’re in the Cloud Era, there are even more network factors over which you’re likely to exercise limited control, if any at all.

It’s not a huge spoiler for me to tell you Terry’s conclusion: It’s too early to tell whether QoS is going to become irrelevant. We’re still early in the cloud migration, and the mix of traffic continues to evolve as well.

What will definitely be important is that you understand how the environment is changing, how that’s affecting your enterprise’s real-time application performance, how that effect ripples out to your end users’ experience and -- maybe most relevant for a chunk of the No Jitter/Enterprise Connect crowd -- what you can do about it all.

And speaking of Enterprise Connect, I’m happy to say that for Enterprise Connect 2019 next March, Terry will be returning to provide his usual in-depth expertise on how IP networks affect real-time traffic and vice versa. He’ll be expanding on many of the ideas in this most recent No Jitter post, as well as looking at many of the other issues affecting how we manage IP networks that deliver voice, video, and messaging traffic.

So this is the perfect time for me to mention that registration for Enterprise Connect 2019 is now open. The show will take place March 18-21  at the Gaylord  Palms Hotel in Orlando, Fla., and we’re expecting it to be bigger and better than ever. This industry is growing, the field of players is changing rapidly, and EC is the place to go if you need to understand what’s going on and how to apply that knowledge to benefit your organization and your enterprise. Whether you’re a strategic decision-maker charting the course of your enterprise’s collaboration strategy  or you’re responsible for making it all work day in, day out -- or some combination of the two roles, or something in between -- we’ll have the right content and colleagues at EC19.

I hope you’ll join us in Orlando next March.