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Differentiated Services

Differentiated Services describes a set of end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities. End-to-end QoS is the ability of a network to deliver service required by specific network traffic from one end of the network to another. By configuring differentiated services, you configure your network to deliver particular levels of service for different packets based on the QoS specified by each packet.

Differentiated Services (also called DiffServ) is defined by RFC 2474 and 2475 as enhancements to IP networking to enable scalable service discrimination in the IP network without the need for per-flow state and signaling at every hop. Routers that can understand differentiated services sort IP traffic into classes by inspecting the DS field in IPv4 header or the Traffic Class field in the IPv6 header.

You can use the FortiGate Differentiated Services feature to change the DSCP (Differentiated Services Code Point) value for all packets accepted by a policy. The network can use these DSCP values to classify, mark, shape, and police traffic, and to perform intelligent queuing. DSCP features are applied to traffic by configuring the routers on your network to apply different service levels to packets depending on the DSCP value of the packet.

If the differentiated services feature is not enabled, the FortiGate unit treats traffic as if the DSCP value is set to the default (00), and will not change IP packets' DSCP field. DSCP values are also not applied to traffic if the traffic originates from a FortiGate unit itself.

The FortiGate unit applies the DSCP value and IPsec encryption to the differentiated services (formerly ToS) field in the first word of the IP header. The typical first word of an IP header, with the default DSCP value, is 4500:

  • 4 for IPv4
  • 5 for a length of five words
  • 00 for the default DSCP value

You can change the packet's DSCP field for traffic initiating a session (forward) or for reply traffic (reverse) and enable each direction separately and configure it in the security policy.

Changes to DSCP values in a security policy effect new sessions. If traffic must use the new DSCP values immediately, clear all existing sessions.

DSCP is enabled using the CLI command:

config firewall policy

edit <policy_number>


set diffserv-forward enable

set diffservcode-forward <binary_integer>

set diffserv-reverse enable

set diffservcode-rev <binary_integer>



For more information on the different DCSP commands, see the examples below and the CLI Reference. If you only set diffserv-forward and diffserv-reverse without setting the corresponding diffvercode values, the FortiGate unit will reset the bits to zero.

For a list of DSCP values and their ToS equivalents see Differentiated Services. DSCP values can also be defined within a shared shaper as a single value, and per-IP shaper for forward and reverse directions.