The Internet has become the preferred transport medium for almost every type of communication, continuing to grow, both in terms of the number of users and delivered services. Efforts have been made to ensure that time sensitive applications receive sufficient resources and subsequently receive an acceptable Quality of Service (QoS). However, typical Internet users no longer use a single service at a given point in time, as they are instead engaged in a multimedia-rich experience, comprising of many different concurrent services. Given the scalability problems raised by the diversity of the users and traffic, in conjunction with their increasing expectations, the task of QoS provisioning can no longer be approached from the perspective of providing priority to specific traffic types over coexisting services; either through explicit resource reservation, or traffic classification using static policies, as is the case with the current approach to QoS provisioning, Differentiated Services (Diffserv). This current use of static resource allocation and traffic shaping methods reveals a distinct lack of synergy between current QoS practices and user activities, thus highlighting a need for a QoS solution reflecting the user services. The aim of this thesis is to investigate and propose a novel QoS architecture, which considers the activities of the user and manages resources from a user-centric perspective. The research begins with a comprehensive examination of existing QoS technologies and mechanisms, arguing that current QoS practises are too static in their configuration and typically give priority to specific individual services rather than considering the user experience. The analysis also reveals the potential threat that unresponsive application traffic presents to coexisting Internet services and QoS efforts, and introduces the requirement for a balance between application QoS and fairness. This thesis proposes a novel architecture, the Congestion Aware Packet Scheduler (CAPS), which manages and controls traffic at the point of service aggregation, in order to optimise the overall QoS of the user experience. The CAPS architecture, in contrast to traditional QoS alternatives, places no predetermined precedence on a specific traffic; instead, it adapts QoS policies to each individual’s Internet traffic profile and dynamically controls the ratio of user services to maintain an optimised QoS experience. The rationale behind this approach was to enable a QoS optimised experience to each Internet user and not just those using preferred services. Furthermore, unresponsive bandwidth intensive applications, such as Peer-to-Peer, are managed fairly while minimising their impact on coexisting services. The CAPS architecture has been validated through extensive simulations with the topologies used replicating the complexity and scale of real-network ISP infrastructures. The results show that for a number of different user-traffic profiles, the proposed approach achieves an improved aggregate QoS for each user when compared with Best effort Internet, Traditional Diffserv and Weighted-RED configurations. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that the proposed architecture not only provides an optimised QoS to the user, irrespective of their traffic profile, but through the avoidance of static resource allocation, can adapt with the Internet user as their use of services change.

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