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What is Traffic Policing?

Module by: Christopher Chikalimba-Gama. E-mail the author

Summary: This article is about the process used in communications networks. For the aspect of law enforcement work in limiting the rate of traffic.

Traffic Policing

Traffic policing allows you to control the maximum rate of traffic sent or received on an interface, and to partition a network into multiple priority levels or class of service (CoS).

An application that wishes to use the broadband network to transport traffic must first request a connection, which involves informing the network about the characteristics of the traffic and the Quality of service (QOS) required by the application [1]. This information is stored in a trafic contract. If the connection request is accepted, the application is permitted to use the network to transport traffic. During communication, the network monitors the conformity between the declared traffic characteristics (in the traffic contract) and the characteristics of the actual traffic entering the network. This is known as traffic policing. The main purpose of this function is to protect the network resources from malicious connections and to enforce the compliance of every connection to its negotiated traffic contract. The network also has the capability to discard non-conformant traffic in the network (using Priority Control)[1].

Benefits of Traffic Policing

bandwidth Management Through Rate Limiting

Traffic policing allows you to control the maximum rate of traffic sent or received on an interface. Traffic policing is often configured on interfaces at the edge of a network to limit traffic into or out of the network. Traffic that falls within the rate parameters is sent, whereas traffic that exceeds the parameters is dropped or sent with a different priority [2].


  1. Ferguson P., Huston G.,. (1998). “Quality of Service: Delivering QoS on the Internet and in Corporate Networks”,. In Ferguson P. (Ed.), John Wiley Inc.(Wikipedia 2006, last accessed 13 February 2006).
  2. Cisco Systems Inc. Policing and shaping overview. accessed 13 February 2006).

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