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What is Traffic Shaping?
Traffic shaping (also known as packet shaping) is bandwidth management technique that delays the flow of certain types of network packets in order to ensure network performance for higher priority applications. Traffic shaping essentially limits the amount of bandwidth that can be consumed by certain types of applications. It is primarily used to ensure a high quality of service for business-related network traffic.
The most common type of traffic shaping is application-based traffic shaping. Fingerprinting tools are first used to identify the application associated with a data packet. Based on this, specific traffic shaping policies are applied. For example, you might want to use application-based traffic-shaping to throttle peer-to-peer file sharing, while giving maximum bandwidth to a business-critical application such as Voice-over-IP (VoIP), which is especially sensitive to latency.
Many application protocols use encryption to circumvent application-based traffic shaping. To prevent applications from bypassing traffic shaping policies, route-based traffic shaping can be used. Route-based traffic shaping applies packet regulation policies based on the source and intended destination of the previous address a packet.