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(also traffic shaping)

Clocking definition

Clocking, also known as traffic shaping, is a network management technique that regulates network data transfer to ensure a consistent data flow. By controlling the speed or volume of data traveling over the network, clocking can enhance network performance, prevent bandwidth congestion, and ensure fair use of network resources among users.

See also: bandwidth , net neutrality

Clocking examples

  • Internet service providers (ISPs): ISPs often use clocking to manage network congestion during peak usage times, slowing down the data transfer rate for certain users or types of traffic.
  • Business networks: In a corporate environment, clocking can be used to prioritize critical services and applications, ensuring they always have the necessary bandwidth.

Pros and cons of clocking


  • Network performance: By managing and controlling network traffic, clocking helps prevent network congestion, resulting in improved network performance.
  • Fair usage: It ensures equitable distribution of bandwidth among all users, preventing any single user or service from monopolizing the network.


  • Speed throttling: One criticism of clocking is that it can lead to speed throttling, where users experience slower internet speeds than they paid for.
  • Net neutrality: Clocking has been a topic of debate in the context of net neutrality because it could potentially be used to favor or discriminate against certain types of traffic or services.

Using clocking

  • Understand your network's needs and patterns before implementing a clocking policy.
  • Combine clocking with other techniques like prioritization for a comprehensive traffic management strategy.