You know how Cisco always advise to mark the packet as close to the your network edge as you can? Even more you can find a lot of example where Cisco show how to trust the packets directly on the access switch, but not all the time you can do this.

First because not everybody has devices that mark correct packets (like Cisco IP Phones) but we still have to deal somehow with packet marking as maybe your provider treat packets different on their backbone based on their marking.

In this idea what I’m taking care the most are the voice packets as usually this has to be prioritized on the network. Let’s face it, if you have a TCP connection and some FTP packet are retransmitted you don’t notice this too much, but if you have delay on your phone conversation with your boss, that it’s not so good.

Please have a look at the topology below:

In this scenario we have a Voice server and some IP Phones (I know they look like Cisco IP phone, but pretend they are not) connected to the access switch. Let’s assume that  we cannot trust marking on this packets as they arrive from this devices.

Here we run into one of the two issues. First if we trust the marking on the access port, than we don’t know what we are stuck with. If we don’t trust them, then the packets header DiffServ (TOS) bits are rewrite with a value of zero making no difference between voice packets and regular ones.

My solution is the following. I’m not saying that’s the only solution or the best, but it’s working:

On the access switch:

1. enable globally:

mls qos

2. configure and access-list that match the voice packet; this is a very general list:

access-list 101 permit udp any any range 16384 32767
access-list 101 permit udp any range 16384 32767 any
access-list 101 permit udp any any range 5060 5061
access-list 101 permit udp any range 5060 5061 any

3. match the access-list in a class-map

class-map match-all VOIP
match access-group 101

4.configure a policy-map with the class-map above and set the DSCP value to EF (decimal 46) or COS or whatever you need

policy-map ASTERISK
class VOIP
set dscp ef

5.on the access port configure the service-policy direction inbound

int x/y
service-policy input ASTERISK

6.on all trunks from your access switch to your first Layer 3 device trust this DSCP  value (or what you have set, as now we are sure what values we set) with:

mls qos trust dscp

Let me know if it’s working!

Cisco: Mark voice packets at the network edge
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