Traffic policing and traffic shaping are two common methods used for bandwidth limiting in network environments. While both techniques involve controlling network traffic, they differ in their approaches and outcomes. Here’s a comparison of traffic policing and traffic shaping:


Traffic Policing:

  • Traffic policing is a technique that enforces a specified traffic rate limit.
  • Incoming traffic is monitored, and any traffic exceeding the defined limit is either dropped or marked with a lower priority.
  • Policing is typically implemented at network ingress points, such as routers or switches.
  • The primary goal of traffic policing is to restrict traffic to a specific rate, preventing it from exceeding a predetermined threshold.
  • Policing can result in traffic being dropped, which may cause packet loss and potential performance degradation for certain applications.
  • Policing is useful when the priority is to strictly enforce a specific bandwidth limit and discard excess traffic beyond the limit.


Traffic Shaping:

  • Traffic shaping is a technique that buffers and delays excess traffic to ensure it conforms to a desired rate.
  • Outgoing traffic is analyzed and shaped to match a defined traffic profile or bandwidth allocation.
  • Shaping is typically implemented at network egress points, such as routers or network interfaces.
  • The primary goal of traffic shaping is to smooth out traffic bursts and shape the traffic flow to fit within a specific bandwidth constraint.
  • Shaping can introduce delays in the transmission of excess traffic, which helps regulate the flow and prevent congestion.
  • Shaping is useful when the priority is to control the overall bandwidth usage and provide fair sharing of resources among different applications or users.


In summary, traffic policing drops or marks excessive traffic that exceeds a specified rate limit, while traffic shaping buffers and delays excess traffic to smooth out the traffic flow. Policing enforces a strict limit, potentially leading to packet loss, while shaping prioritizes bandwidth allocation and fairness by introducing delays. The choice between traffic policing and traffic shaping depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the network environment.

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