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What Is Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Dynamic bandwidth allocation is a term used to describe the method of allocating bandwidth on a network on an as-needed basis. With this process, bandwidth is allocated based on the number and type of activities currently taking place, instead of reserving a certain amount of bandwidth for each one of those tasks. This approach is seen as a way to make more efficient use of bandwidth, since no application is left short on resources.

As part of the bandwidth management process, dynamic bandwidth allocation is an ongoing process. As applications are engaged, the network allocates a portion of the free resources to each of the applications, carefully keeping a balance that ensures each application has sufficient tools to function efficiently. Once a particular application is completed and is no longer active, that bandwidth is freed and is available for use by other applications when and as needed.

One of the chief benefits of dynamic bandwidth allocation is that applications which may require considerable resources at one point but can function with much less at a later time are automatically adjusted in terms of the amount of bandwidth set aside for the function. In the interim, any bandwidth that remains free can easily be allocated to other resources. This is different from dedicating bandwidth to specific applications, since that bandwidth is not available to other applications even when it is not in active use.

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With dynamic bandwidth allocation, a computer network can be configured to make the most of the resources currently available. Since bandwidth is not dedicated based on average usage per application, each active application has access to whatever is needed to operate efficiently. Typically, this approach does allow for the creation of log files on the system, making it possible to administrators to monitor peak usage throughout the day, and determine if there is a need to secure additional bandwidth due to increased demand or if the current bandwidth usage is within a range that is considered safe.

The use of a dynamic bandwidth allocation approach makes it possible to accommodate a number of applications, including stable transmission and receipt of audio, video, and data on any given network. By being able to respond quickly and easily to shifts in the amount of traffic taking place on the network and the resulting shift in how much bandwidth is needed by active applications, it is possible to avoid situations in which one application cannot run due to resources being committed to other applications, even those that are currently not actually engaged and running.

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