In this final part of our blog series on QoS with the PIX/ASA, we examine the remaining two tools that we find on some devices – traffic shaping and traffic policing.

Traffic Shaping

Traffic shaping on the security appliance allows the device to limit the flow of traffic. This mechanism will buffer traffic over the “speed limit” and attempt to send the traffic later. On the 7.x security device, traffic shaping must be applied to all outgoing traffic on a physical interface. Shaping cannot be configured for certain types of traffic. The shaped traffic will include traffic passing though the device, as well as traffic that is sourced from the device.

In order to configure traffic shaping, use the class-default class and apply the shape command in Policy Map Class Configuration mode. This class-default class is created automatically for you by the system. It is a simple match any class map that allows you to quickly match all traffic. Here is a sample configuration:

pixfirewall(config-pmap)#policy-map PM-SHAPER
pixfirewall(config-pmap)# class class-default
pixfirewall(config-pmap-c)# shape average 2000000 16000
pixfirewall(config-pmap-c)# service-policy PM-SHAPER interface outside

Verification is simple. You can run the following to confirm your configuration:

pixfirewall(config)# show run policy-map
policy-map PM-SHAPER
 class class-default
shape average 2000000 16000

Another excellent command that confirms the effectiveness of the policy is:

pixfirewall(config)# show service-policy shape
Interface outside:
 Service-policy: PM-SHAPER
Class-map: class-default
shape (average) cir 2000000, bc 16000, be 16000
     queue limit 64 packets
 (queue depth/total drops/no-buffer drops) 0/0/0
      (pkts output/bytes output) 0/0

Traffic Policing

With a policing configuration, traffic that exceeds the “speed limit” on the interface is dropped. Unlike traffic shaping configurations on the appliance, with policing you can specify a class of traffic that you want the policing to effect. Let’s examine a traffic policing configuration. In this configuration, we will limit the amount of Web traffic that is permitted in an interface.

pixfirewall(config)# access-list AL-WEB-TRAFFIC permit tcp host eq www any
pixfirewall(config-if)# class-map CM-POLICE-WEB
pixfirewall(config-cmap)# match access-list AL-WEB-TRAFFIC
pixfirewall(config-cmap)# policy-map PM-POLICE-WEB
pixfirewall(config-pmap)# class CM-POLICE-WEB
pixfirewall(config-pmap-c)# police input 1000000 conform-action transmit exceed-action drop
pixfirewall(config-pmap-c)# service-policy PM-POLICE-WEB interface outside

Notice we can verify with similar commands that we used for shaping!

pixfirewall(config)# show run policy-map
policy-map PM-POLICE-WEB
  police input 1000000
pixfirewall(config)# show ser
pixfirewall(config)# show service-policy police
Interface outside:
  Service-policy: PM-POLICE-WEB
    Class-map: CM-POLICE-WEB
      Input police Interface outside:
        cir 1000000 bps, bc 31250 bytes
        conformed 0 packets, 0 bytes; actions:  transmit
        exceeded 0 packets, 0 bytes; actions:  drop
        conformed 0 bps, exceed 0 bps

I hope that you enjoyed this four part series on QoS on the PIX/ASA! Please look for other posts about complex configurations on the security appliances very soon. I have already been flooded with recommendations!

Happy Studies!

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5 Responses to “QoS on the PIX/ASA – Part 4:Traffic Shaping and Traffic Policing”

  1. Zia says:


    Thanks for this great post. But I think in in the example above, it is just for outbound traffic, can we do it for incoming traffic as well?

    I have Exchange server behind ASA 5510, internet bandwidth is 2/2 Mbps.

    I noticed that all incoming SMTP traffic is choking all the bandwidth.

    Can I limit incoming traffic to 1 Mbps (50%)?

    I think rate-limit option is just for outbound traffic!


  2. Thank you for this blog entry. I’m sure it will help us out. Thanks again!

  3. Eben Pagan Guru MAsterclass…

    QoS on the PIX/ASA – Part 4:Traffic Shaping and Traffic Policing | CCIE Blog…

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