Packet Classification Overview
Packet classification involves categorizing a packet within a specific group (or class) and assigning it a traffic descriptor to make it accessible for QoS handling on the network. The traffic descriptor contains information about the forwarding treatment (quality of service) that the packet should receive. Using packet classification, you can partition network traffic into multiple priority levels or classes of service. The source agrees to adhere to the contracted terms and the network promises a quality of service. Traffic policers and traffic shapers use the traffic descriptor of a packet to ensure adherence to the contract.
Traffic policers and traffic shapers rely on packet classification features, such as IP precedence, to select packets (or traffic flows) traversing a router or interface for different types of QoS service. After you classify packets, you can use other QoS features to assign the appropriate traffic handling policies including congestion management, bandwidth allocation, and delay bounds for each traffic class.
The Modular Quality of Service (QoS) CLI (MQC) defines the traffic flows that must be classified, where each traffic flow is called a class of service, or class. Later, a traffic policy is created and applied to a class. All traffic not identified by defined classes fall into the category of a default class.