In a metropolitan area network, a method and system for maintaining an accurate total of the amount of allocated bandwidth on the network. A plurality of incoming packets are assigned to a respective plurality of queues of a metropolitan area network switch. Using a fair arbitration scheme, the respective queues are configured to empty at a specified output rate. A finish time for each respective queue is computed, the finish time describing a time at which the respective queue will be emptied using the output rate. The plurality of queues are grouped into multiple groups in accordance with their respective finish times. The earliest group includes the reserved rates of those queues having a finish time indicating an empty condition at a first time increment. The second earliest group includes the reserved rates of those queues having a finish time indicating an empty condition at a second time increment later than the first time increment, and so on. The amount of allocated bandwidth on the network is determined by tracking the sum of the reserved rates of all the multiple groups. The first time increment, second time increment, and the like are indexed with respect to a schedule clock. The earliest group thus indicates those queues that will have an empty condition at a next time increment of the schedule clock. The determination of the amount of allocated bandwidth can be accomplished in real time, thereby allowing the efficient allocation of unallocated bandwidth in real time.
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