QoS Management: Uncovering the Mechanisms and Solutions used in Telecommunications and Mobile Networks Essay
In a strong effort to promote efficient quality of service, institutions which use telecommunications or mobile networks have turned to key technologies, mechanisms, and solutions to aid in that goal. This drive to accomplish great service, security measures, and reliable systems has focused attempts to procure technologies which use QoS management as their center point. In my research, I have indicated the significance of QoS in the face of today’s society and predominately how mechanisms and solutions for telecom purposes are have been created with that ideology in mind.
As QoS is the forefront of technological mechanisms and solutions, my research clearly indicates how quality and responsiveness has become a chief focal point in the IT industry. Furthermore, it is essential to the service IT industry that such endeavors focus on the solutions to key problems, such as issues that lead to overwhelming the networks, and enhancements to the communication industry. My thesis elaborates on how such efforts have been accomplished and how industry is fairing due to such changes. Overall, QoS has led to increased consumer focus, flexibility in the network environment, and better corporate expenditures being spent. Should QoS management not be utilized, corporations then fail to achieve the
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Orientation to Quality of Service (QoS) Management and the World of Electronic Communication
In comprehending the significance of QoS, we must first understand what QoS has done for the world of service and electronic communication. QoS also known as Quality of Service is recognized as a means towards offering effective and efficient networking techniques as well as technologies. In an effort to guarantee such efficiency, this service permits networks to deliver conventional outcomes. For instance, when analyzing a networks overall performance under the guidelines of QoS we expect to see good availability times via uptime, strong bandwidth via throughput, less error rates, and less delay times. In order to accomplish this efficiency, network traffic itself must be prioritized through a strong monitoring system which records how the server or router is performing. It also focuses on applications which ride upon the server and it allows network administers to gauge how the interfaces within those applications work within or alongside the network. We do know that such changes cause drastic changes to IT as the following diagram indicates:
Overall, QoS encourages and insures that networks are actually performing at a desired stage. For VoIP, video-on-demand, and other such consumer services QoS’s network functionality allows for such Internet applications to be performing as expected (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-qos.htm). Unfortunately, some major networking technologies, such as Ethernet, were not originally designed to support such performance levels; which made it complicated in implementing QoS solutions across the Internet. (http://compnetworking.about.com/od/networkdesign/g/bldef_qos.htm)
Why QoS is Making Such an Impression
QoS is making such a positive impression because of its holistic benefits in the arena of computer network traffic. Increased demands on network traffic have led to network administrators seeking to add capacity to a struggling network system. When the network system is slow network customers become increasingly dissatisfied because they are unable to use applications which require a more efficient network. Such applications are multimedia driven and intensify how the network might be slower than required. QoS mechanisms are actual tools which allow network administrators to manage the use of various network resources in both a controlled as well as efficient style. This approach guarantees that end-user service is being improved upon for both users as well as the applications that they are using. For an organization, this efficiency improves the quality of service and decreases the costs associated with providing such services. Organizations have come to turns with some specific benefits that arise due to QoS deployment.
Some of these benefits include improved performance of applications across WAN links, efficient usage of multimedia traffic on the network system, and encouraging the use of multimedia. Because common business applications such as PeopleSoft in an intranet setting led to a slow application response or freezes, QoS can allow for network administrators to set priority levels on traffic that could encumber the WAN links or system. This directs the amount of users on the system and organizes how the system is handling any large user overcrowding. In terms of multimedia traffic on the network, applications which use TAPI 3.0 are allowing for better streaming of applications such as NetMeeting conference software. Once again network administrators are able to use QoS mechanisms to control the impact of heavy applications on the network. Lastly, IP telephony is also impacted because QoS allows for the union of multimedia and data networks; hence, matching the ideology of corporate belief that technology should allow for cost savings on their end. All this benefits have led to QoS making a positive impression on corporate. (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742477.aspx)
Uncovering How the IT Industry Can Maximize its Profit Due to QoS Management
System administrations in the IT industry are faced with several key storage management responsibilities such as application/storage performance management, backup/restore operations, security, availability and ease of use of resources, capacity scheduling, and configuration management. Because new business service level agreements, departmental policies, QoS goals, IT protocols, applications, and user interactions has increased it has become difficult on the IT teams to ensure that good performance, security, and availability is occurring. The QoS system and systems management is a means towards reducing management complexities by permitting the system administrators to actually identify QoS goals which can provide performance guarantees, availability levels, and security. These goals are then inserted into system action plans to maximize profits of the organization.
Because IP networks have many QoS challenges, policy based bandwidth management solutions are becoming available to vendors. Such tools allow system administrators to set traffic policies which are consistent and timely. As Nathan Miller points out in his book “LANs to WANs”, They can also deploy security measures across the networks using such tools in an intranet and VPN based environments using IP numbers. Such IP networks are increasing in popularity because it permits a wide range of service that customers require. Such services include extranets, intranets, e-commerce, VPN usage, application hosting, and video conferencing. This is good an organization because it allows the organization to focus on security and service levels which retain customers and achieve confidence in a company. Furthermore, it allows a company the opportunity to have more revenue opportunities and “increased return on investment from new and existing network deployments”. (http://books.google.com/books?id=uj-RtknCc_oC&pg=PA288&lpg=PA288&dq=Mechanism+QoS+Management&source=web&ots=wPDsa519zS&sig=uLWFBudM_TWpT6DkX_aw-vN82j8&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result)
This process is built upon policies and distinguishing QoS rules which follow a ECA format also known as Event-Condition-Action which defines how the system is expected to respond for different possible system states and goal values. As the article points out “at run-time, the management module simply invokes the rule that is applicable based on the event and system condition.”
Specialized Focus on Key Aspects Related to QoS Management in Regards to the Telecommunications Industry
The telecommunications industry is at the forefront of advancing its QoS management practices. In regards to obtaining software as well as hardware solutions it has grasped at the necessity of measuring the end-to-end telecom service component. This service experience drives how a telecom company fairs in today’s society. For instance, Agilent Technologies Inc has implemented a new Wireless QoS Manager also known as WQM to support of diverse equipment and technologies. As WQM can support multiple technologies and platforms the cost of ownership will also be decreased. It will be using GSM, UMTS, and CDMA to provide the utmost customer service experience.
These solutions will be recognized for their ability to promptly pinpoint service or customer isssues while ensuring that the customer receiving the best possible experience while they are being serviced. These solutions are also aimed at reducing capital as well as operational experiences in having to resolve issues that might otherwise have been prevented. This new system and QoS management policies will enhance their systems with the flexibility to make changes as required. Users of the system can also have the ability to test the systems which will provide efficiency along the system line so that reports can be generated to evaluate how everything is performing. We can see that under this practice the telecommunications industry will be able to gauge how everything is performing and if they are seeing results of value to themselves, their expenditure levels, and the customer/service experience. As the article points out: “As new applications and network technologies continue to evolve, WQM’s flexible platform can quickly adapt to new customer applications.” This point is the predominant reason why the telecommunications industry is turning to QoS management and its evolution in modern technology. (http://www.agilent.com/about/newsroom/presrel/2006/24jan-os06001.html)
Vital Components Associated With Having Reliability in the Telecommunications and E-Commerce Industry
As the article, Consumer perspectives on service quality of electronic commerce Web sites by Sullivan, Joseph R, indicates consumers feel very strongly about having reliability across the telecommunications environment. This steadfast interest in being provided the utmost level of service in the e-commerce sector has heightened consumer awareness of alternatives in networking services offered. The article compares web-based sites and reflects that respondents/users of the websites felt that their expectations were not being met. They felt that the level of service actually left a lot to be desired. Among their chief complaints were that they were not receiving sufficient on-line help, they were concerned about making online transactions, they felt that human assistance was not readily available, and that they might not be receiving additional help if required (http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/computer-software-customer-relation/975897-1.html).
These concerns illustrate the importance in QoS of providing a quality of service across all spectrums of the experience. If customers feel that they can not rely or trust the organization then they will look elsewhere for that level of satisfaction. E-commerce and telecommunications companies will find that their competitive advantage lies in utilizing QoS to the best of their abilities. As consumer perspective is vital to their continued success, companies are turning to new QoS policies and procedures. The benefits are e-commerce is significant for all parties, but only if quality of service is up to par with those expectations. If customers find that traditional methods of sales like ordering from a catalogue are showing better service then they will turn away from e-commerce. This article evaluates key characteristics that makes the QoS management system applicable to the environment in which it is enacted. For instance, the appearance of the website is the first impression that a customer has. They will experience if the organization is reliable because it performs the “promised service dependably and accurately”. Customers also expect that the organization, whether it be an e-commerce site or a telecommunications company, be responsive and willing to aid the customer efficiently and promptly. Lastly, they expect assurance and understanding from the service providers that they will attend to the problem in a knowledgeable and respectful manner. This attention to these details will validate if they QoS is being handled well or not.
How Quality, Security, and Responsiveness are Essential to the IT World
The article, Quality control in security helps ensure safety, by Iuliano, Dino emphasizes how if we control quality in the IT environment security measures will also ensure our overall safety. If we hold organizations accountable for our security we can also guarantee that they will be consistent in offering such measures. In call centers, security officials can monitor activities of their personnel and should any lax behavior be noted in terms of personal information about customers it should be reported instantly. This is a matter of quality control for initial security efforts. As attacks, such as viruses and Trojan horse programs, on network security have risen, network administrators have turned to QoS to ensure that application performance is not adversely affected. This ensures that they are being responsive to potential threats against their system.
Such viruses are known for overloading a systems memory by rapidly generating more faulty code. Network administrators have turned to MacAfee or Nortel to detect such intrusions and placed firewalls to help keep out unauthorized traffic. Furthermore, QoS is being used to recognize traffic based upon accepted application usage, set protocols, user authorization, IP addresses, or other such authentication.
(http://www.computerworld.com/networkingtopics/networking/story/0,10801,89113,00.html) For instance, security and QoS products are working hand-in-hand in terms of using a ACL or common access control list to identify how to treat a particular traffic. So if any abnormal ID comes though, a set rule can tell or alert the QoS system in how to generate an alert or how to treat that traffic channel. These security measures protect the system from intruders or preserves the memory of the system from virus attacks.
In addition, quarterly reports about how personal information of customers is handled can generate continuous renewed interest in protecting confidential information about customers. Quality surveys can be conducted to gather employee and consumer feelings about how secure their network or telecommunications experience is. Furthermore, by educating employees in how to handle secure networks and information we can better protect the public. Lastly, it is vital to listen to customers if they express concerns or feelings that their network activities are being jeopardized. This shows that a company is being responsive to its customers who might experience network threats from user interface perspective. (http://www.allbusiness.com/management/benchmarking-quality-improvement/366212-1.html) “PacketShaper identifies where [an unnaturally large volume of] connections are coming from,” says Ted Roberge, manager of residential network services. “I can block or shape those IP addresses down to a tiny amount of bandwidth to minimize the impact on network and server resources.” (http://www.computerworld.com/networkingtopics/networking/story/0,10801,89113,00.html)
Associated Mechanisms Used in QoS Management
Some vital mechanisms used in QoS Management include traffic handling mechanisms, which can be categorized as per-conversation or aggregate mechanisms, and provisioning and configuration Mechanisms. Several key mechanisms associated with traffic handling include differentiated services (aka diffserv), 802.1p, integrated services (intserv), ATM, and ISSLOW.
Per-conversation mechanisms take care of each traffic flow of each communication exchange in segregation; whereas, in aggregate mechanism traffic handling each group containing many traffic stream is handled like a single aggregate class. The distinction illustrates that while per conversation mechanisms treats each entity by itself it is more expensive to conduct because of the special attention and effort paid to an individual entity.
IntServ or integrated service is one such per-conversation traffic handling mechanism which is used for defining services such as RSVP signaling protocols. ATM offers a high quality traffic handling by placing ATM fragments into link layer cells which can be placed in a queue for service by specific algorithms. ISSLOW also fragments IP packets but over slow speed links such as dial up modems. Complaints about ISSLOW occur due to latency when audio and data packets become mixed; hence, slowing down the usability of specific applications. Some aggregate traffic handling mechanisms include differentiated services, also known as diffserv, and 802.1p. Furthermore, integrated services is recognized for specifying elements which actually guarantee QoS on networks. For instance, IntServ is used to allow video and sound to reach the receiver without interruption because every router in the system uses IntServ and every application needs a guarantee before allowing the data to pass. Flow Specs identifies and describes what the reservation is for, while RSVP is used to gesture the reservation across the network. The chief problem with IntServ lies in that as many states of reservation are required to be stored in each particular router it cases the system to be slower, which is why you would use IntServ only on a small-scale level.
Once, a company requires that the chief system be the Internet, IntServ is overwhelmed by the amount of reservations and has difficulty keeping track of them all. For this reason, IntServ is not considered very popular with organizations using extranet and intranet services. As Wikipedia points out, “one way to solve this problem is by using a multi-level approach, where per-microflow resource reservation (i.e. resource reservation for individual users) is done in the edge network, while in the core network resources are reserved for aggregate flows only. The routers that lie between these different levels must adjust the amount of aggregate bandwidth reserved from the core network so that the reservation requests for individual flows from the edge network can be better satisfied.”
Under diffserv, this mechanism is being used in large routed networks which carry many thousands of communications. Hosts and routers send transmitted packets along with a DSCP value to distinguish the groupings and queue behavior of the packets based upon the results of which manner of conversational classification they might fall into. This is known as traffic classification because it does not make a distinction based upon the requirements of an individual flow like IntServ does. This scheduling leads to fewer costs in an organization as well. While DiffServ is a coarse-grained and class-based mechanism for traffic management; IntServ is considered a fine-grained, flow-based mechanism. Unlike IntServ, DiffServ’s traffic management uses the concept of discriminating incoming traffic based upon its class as it passes through the router. This way the practice of managing each traffic class based upon priority levels can occur. What distinguishes what type of traffic is to receive priority treatment occurs at the network operator level.
The sole responsibility of DiffServ is to provide the structure in which classification and priority differentiation can occur and it does this by suggesting which standard set of traffic classes should have what role in the network. DiffServ does depend on its ability to classify or mark packets as assigned to a specific class. It is of utmost importance to recognize that DiffServ has the advantage of being easy to implement across the network. This is because all policing and classifying occurs outside network boundaries. System routers focus on routing information without being compounded by the responsibility of collecting payments or enforcing re-arranged agreements. Overall this means that DiffServ needs no reservation, prior setup, or prolonged conciliation for each data flow as seen in IntServ. DiffServ sustains the idea of keeping it simple, whereas IntServ has a lengthy setup and watch-dogs all of its reservations to the letter. This does not mean that everything about DiffServ is great! In fact, DiffServ has some disadvantages which give network operators concern. Some disadvantages include how the individual routers deal with service field. They handle the fields arbitrarily and if the boundary host is not playing by the rules or policies pre-set it makes it tough to forecast end-to-end behavior. Some hosts might attempt to give their own data traffic higher priority by tagging it with a high priority number even though it might not qualify as being more vital. This underhanded activity makes traffic classing, which DiffServ rides upon, indifferent.
The biggest disadvantage of DiffServ is that some consider it as a technical solution for a technical problem which would not exist if the capacity of Internet links were in fact well created. The workaround that people consider would push Diff Serv services to obsolete services were if sufficient network capacity were added on the Internet level then it would allow for packet loss to not occur on the traffic classes. This dropping of packets wastes resources and leads to more bandwidth consumption. Moral behind not having to deal with DiffServ: add more capacity which would obtain more consumer satisfaction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_services)
As for 802.1P this mechanism is fitting for use along many local area networks because it labels a field in the MAC header of Ethernet packets and marks the packet so LAN devices such as switches, bridges, and hubs know what to do with it. (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742477.aspx). 802.1p gives Layer 2 switches the capability to prioritize traffic as well as execute dynamic multicast filtering. Layer 2 switches are tasked with grouping incoming LAN packets into individual traffic classes based upon 1 of the 8 classes set out by 802.1p. Network managers determine actual mapping rules to each class, but IEEE does make general recommendations as to which has a higher priority level or distinction. Streaming multimedia and vital business critical traffic which cases business data fall into data class 4 in priority level. 802.1 uses priority fields within a packet in order to specify to the switch how high its priority is set for and how it must be handled. (http://www.networkworld.com/details/475.html)
In terms of provisioning and configuration mechanisms, which are categorized as top-down or signaled mechanisms, it is expected that these mechanisms be used across multiple network devices to ensure that QoS management across the network is being effectively handled. Based upon top-down provisioning, the network management system procedure is all about “pushing” the traffic treatment in a queue to a set of network devices. Classification criteria are then configured to establish which packets are intended for which particular queue in the device. These packets are classified based on something called a IP 5-tuple or DSCP and 802.1p aggregate “marks” in packet headers. Masked 5-tuples may also be used. A configuration mechanism is RSVP Signaling which uses hosts to produce signaling messages which explain to the network hosting the data traffic what is associated with a particular communication. These messages basically offer some of the following information to the network such as What I am, Who I am, What I want, How much I want, How I can be recognized, and which network device resources will be affected by the data traffic. This information authenticated the user, which applications are being used, the type of QoS service required, resources needed, and how it can be recognized. (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742477.aspx)
This information is very beneficial to QoS management systems because it links the classification between information on the application and user to the networks benefit. Network administrators can see upstream what is impacted and evaluate how the data traffic is affecting the system. This keeps the network administrator in control and leads to less latency queue issues. By offering information to the network you can better manage the network’s resources more effectively and efficiently. This allows the network to not become overwhelmed by congestion issues or overaggressive applications. This also ensures that applications like video usage and wireless telephony systems are not devastating to CPU performances which might otherwise be faced with huge error rates associated with wireless links. Furthermore, as future communications are ever dynamic in nature we will be seeing more intermixing between networks, terminals, applications, and methods to use services which require massive communication links (http://www.springerlink.com/content/d713882r0m181306/fulltext.pdf?page=1).
In Practice How Solutions to Issues are Resolved For Consumers Via QoS Management
Obviously it is attractive to companies to see that there are many QoS solutions being offered to maximize their rate on investment while minimizing the likelihood of high risk factors and complexities.
Some common solutions are:
IP Telephony Solutions:-
Under IP telephony we can see that most company use either an Avaya or Cisco phone system which is managed in terms of VoIP. This solution is all about offering converging data and voice technology to companies which are seeing to have their telephony system’s trouble-shoot in case of issues while lowering their ownership costs. This solution works because it successfully merges data and voice technology via technology and software to provide clear, crisp, and successful communication between companies and their clientele. This solution requires that an in-depth assessment occur on the monitored systems to see how such convergence is affecting the whole telephony network from a bite rate, packet loss, and latency perspective (http://www.springerlink.com/content/768nn686tk677m7n/).
Internetworking LAN and WAN Solutions:-
Today businesses are expecting more from their LAN and WAN networks. They using LAN and WAN for everything from email communications to file sharing responsibilities. Furthermore, customer service oriented corporations require integrated voice, video, and data applications. As these expectances have increased so has the strain on network availability, performance, and bandwidth. QoS is being used as a solution to enhance such developments.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Solutions:-
Our society today is faced with transportation costs. Every day workers find themselves commuting to and from work for longer periods of time, instead of being able to focus on their projects. This has lead to a loss in productivity as they combat traffic nightmares. The idea of VPN solutions is to save time and increase productivity levels. VPN gives individuals the opportunity to remotely connect to the network whether it be locally or on a global interconnectivity scale. This concept reduces operational costs versus the traditional WAN system and improving security to users in the network. VPN is known for connecting people geographically without having to fly employees around the world to meetings/conferences or to complete projects. This new compatibility to VPN allows companies to see a higher rate on investment versus the traditional WAN systems which is every company’s goal.
WiFi and 802.11x are the options here where a company can extend a wireless intranet or Ethernet connection between 2 or more building or floors. For instance, lets say you are attending a meeting in a conference room away from your working location. A laptop can be removing from it’s docking station, taken to the meeting, and connected to a WiFi network. This allows for swifter response time, and adequate communication options. For training purposes of employees this can also aid a company using wireless options to present information to its employees.
Network Computing Solutions:-
Some common network computing solutions include using web servers for documentation purposes, mail deliver and receive services like POP3 or SMTP, backup options, terminal servers, directory services, web-based application services such as log-in screens, WINS services, and lastly media webstreaming possibilities. These solutions are common across almost all companies which use these services to communicate, store, and protect information. Overall, such solutions are the backbone behind every company and its employees. (http://www.qosnetsolutions.com/)
Business Continuity Solutions:-
Disaster Planning/ Fault Tolerance would enable a company, to remain at a high availability level in spite of disasters. For example, phone systems could be routed to another location for customer service roles, remote servers could be accessed or re-routed, information could be backed up on remote servers or transferred daily should an unexpected incident occur, and other such solutions to keep the business running as smoothly as possible. (http://www.qosnetsolutions.com/)
IT Security Solutions:-
Below is a diagram that explicitly indicates the fundamentals of IT Security Solutions:
You can see that it is a circular chain of events. Via firewalls we can provide initial viruses or Trojan horses from penetrating the network environment. Some prevention methods would include network access devices that will identify and monitor for potential threats to the system (https://cisco.hosted.jivesoftware.com/docs/DOC-3656). This can include URL or email filtering to distinguish potential threats from everyday mail. Anti-virus software solutions can be installed on all desktops/networks to deny such entities from entering the system. The VPN itself as discussed earlier will be a security measure to only allow access to authorized personnel. Should a virus be detected measures would be in place to respond/analyze/report the event or incident. Investigating such threats will be a high priority as well as diagnosing and resolving the situation.
Mobil and Wireless Networks which Have QoS in Practice
In essence the conceptual understanding of Mobil or Wireless Networks is all about QoS Management between seamless mobility and compatibility. The heart of the issue lies in ensuring that the user receive continuous service while maintaining the agreed upon QoS levels. Service level agreement tie consumers to products which are supposed to guarantee that it will all work as promised. In practice, service level specifications are dependent on QoS requirements and parameters. Users have indicated that they are seeing some associated difficulties such as channel errors in the communication stream. This arises due to user mobility and scarce resources where sometimes service levels are not being honored by the network nodes.
Some implications of not maintaining the service level agreements include renegotiation, loss of profits, missed communication opportunities, re-allocation of resources, disruptions in the network, and increased network latency. Because of these issues, corporations are finding that they need to invest further in QoS architecture to preserve their business. They are attempting to use QoS architecture to provide more accurate interaction between access points in the networks/ports/hubs. QoS architects can determine how the system behavior is fluctuating depending the user interaction and priority levels.
Evaluating Ethernet and ATMs in Regards to QoS Management
We have been seeing that 802.1p and IP services has progressed to the point that in LAN applications it has been easier to set class-of-service (CoS) priority levels. Unfortunately, when communication traffic along these lines hits an ATM network, network administrators have the time consuming task of mapping those CoS setting to QoS settings that is required for ATM signaling. Some mapping features available to make this task similar are found in the Ethernet and ATM switches and routers which allow for various priority levels to be set.
Please look at the diagram below to see how these priorities switches work:
This capability to set CoS priorities for Ethernet LAN transfers is essential because video and voice applications are depending a higher network priority level which requires that network administrators set those priorities. Via CoS to QoS mapping tactics, network administrators can widen the profits of ATM QoS into Ethernet LANs. Interfaces for ATMs use various layer 2 and layer 3 switches to read incoming 802.1p or IP ToS priority bits. This information is then classified appropriately to determine the priority level. ATM service occurs over a virtual circuit and is maintained via a present QoS parameter. The permanent virtual circuit is manually configured by the network administrator and is used to help preserve the necessary bandwidth for each call. In fact, ATM is in the best interests of predictable or long durational traffic flows.
We are also seeing that Ethernet port modules are being used to support QoS features that historically could only be used with ATM connected devices. For instance, the Ethernet port can now be constructed for ATM’s Constant Bit Rate (CBR) service in order to sustain both video streaming technology as well as multi-media conferencing applications and software. This will keep the port from experiencing delays and time lapses. “Our research shows that end-users are demanding Quality of Service and that a majority of their desktops will be QoS enabled by the year 2000,” said Mike McConnell, Director of LAN Programs for Infonetics Research. “Delivering ATM’s QoS over Ethernet is an interesting approach and should make it easier for users to deploy new multimedia applications.” (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_/ai_n27525672)
The heart of IT development lies with using QoS in all aspects of financial, infrastructural, and technical planning. The solutions and mechanisms clearly show that it is an attractive policy for companies to maximize their rate on investment while minimizing the likelihood of high risk factors and complexities.
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