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Quality of Service (or “QOS”) is the ability to describe a particular level of service and then intelligently allocate resources to reliably provide that level of service.  A common example of general QOS capabilities is found in the “traffic shaping” features of routers: different types of traffic (e.g., web surfing, videoconferencing, voice, etc.) share a common network but allocations are intelligently made to ensure the proper prioritisation of traffic critical to the business.

In a business context, QOS is closely associated with a partner’s ability to meet it’s Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or an internal department’s ability to meet its Operating Level Agreements (OLAs).

In a technical context, file transfer QOS typically involves one or more of the following factors:

  • Traffic shaping – ensuring that FTP, SSH and other file transfer traffic continues to operate in flooded network conditions.  (Many types of file transfer traffic, including FTP and SSH traffic, are often easy to spot.)
  • Network timeouts and negotiation responses – ensuring that long-running sessions are either allowed or denied or throttling TCP negotiations (either speeding up to ensure the initial attempt survives or scaling back to limit the effects of rapid-fire script kiddie attacks).
  • Any of the major components of a file transfer SLA – e.g., availability of file transfer services, round-trip response time for file submissions or completion of particular sets of work.