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It Really Is a Borderless World

I’m here in Las Vegas helping to construct InteropNet – the network that runs Interop 2011. Cisco is a primary infrastructure vendor for Interop this year. An interesting story just happened that I thought I would tell you about.

Imagine this. You’ve been planning for months to participate in Interop. You’ve helped design and build the network. Now it comes time for your chance to show off your work, and –disaster!  – something comes up that won’t let you attend. Your teammates can help, but –darn it – you would just love to be there.

This was the case for Rob Sherwood, a researcher associated with Stanford University. His team is running the InteropNet Demo Labs in Las Vegas. But a last minute medical emergency meant Rob could not be here in person.

Enter Cisco. We were here in Las Vegas already, and we had a number of Cisco Telepresence EX90 units connected to the network. We had some units at the Network Help Desk, and the Sales suites, but we were looking for additional use-cases to demonstrate the solution.  This opportunity was too good to pass up –  a great use case, and a chance to help out our fellow InteropNet teammates.

We hooked Rob up with the Cisco Movi client, and placed one of the EX90s on a desk in the demo area. The network is running Cisco Medianet so video is  already optimized.  Turned it on – little fiddling on Rob’s home network, and Rob popped up on the screen.

Now Rob is there as a resource for his team, and can (virtually) answer questions on technology during the show. What does Cisco mean when we say “Borderless”? There is your answer.

Rob Sherwood at InteropNet Demo Lab (Virtually)

Rob Sherwood at InteropNet Demo Lab (Virtually)

LiveAction 2.2 helps with media monitoring and network validation for video applications

On April 14th, 2011, ActionPacked! Networks successfully completed the interoperability testing with Medianet 2.2 for its product LiveAction 2.2 (press announcement) through the medianet systems management Cisco Developer Network  (CDN) program.

LiveAction 2.2 support for medianet has been covered in our previous blogs: performance monitor as well as IPSLA Video Operations. However; with the the CDN program, the LiveAction 2.2 software has formally worked through an intensive test review against a purpose built medianet-enabled network.

Performance monitor collects performance statistics including loss, delay and jitter at the network elements. This approach provides the most extensive visibility because all the flows between video source and sink must go through the network infrastructure. It also eliminates the need for expensive probes, which could lead to increased costs for data collection and operational expense.

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Performance Monitoring with Plixer’s Scrutinizer 8.5

In a previous blog, we discussed medianet performance monitor and how it can provide greater confidence within the network with its ability to analyze voice, video and data traffic and report on loss, latency and jitter.

Plixer International delivers a complementary solution that supports the medianet performance monitor feature through the medianet Cisco Developer Network  (CDN) program. CDN for medianet systems management offers application programming interfaces (APIs) and documentation to enable network and application management vendors to support enterprise medianet features that offer customers a range of management and operation solutions.

On March 29, Plixer’s Scrutinizer NetFlow Analyzer version 8.5 successfully completed interoperability testing with Medianet 2.2 (press announcement). Scrutinizer provides detailed reports including the medianet performance monitoring statistics (round trip time, jitter, packet loss, bit/byte and packets, MAC Addresses, IP Addresses, VLANs, Domains, application recognition) to help you monitor and troubleshoot video, voice and data applications. These reports can help the network operator perform fault isolation of network issues affecting rich media applications, as well as track historical performance of various parts of the network.

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IPv6 Transition Tricks using LISP (Location/ID Separation Protocol)

What would you say if I told you that one of the most visited websites on the Internet enabled IPv6 connectivity to their site in the course of an afternoon for zero dollars using existing Cisco hardware?  How about if I told you that the site was Facebook?  Most people would assume I was joking or exaggerating.  However, by using LISP, Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Donn Lee pulled off this seemingly impossible feat and then presented a paper at the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) about the experience.  You can even watch the video here.

What is LISP? 

Let’s start by understanding the problem that LISP solves.  An IP address serves two distinct functions:  It identifies the endpoint host, but also suggests the location because the high order bits identify the network on which the device is located.  If you move a device from one subnet to another, the address has to change since the device location changes.  The endpoint identification from the previous location gets lost when the device moves, unless some form of tunneling or mobility protocol is employed. 

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Smarter endpoints and smarter network: An end to end Medianet becomes a reality!

Finally it’s here. Cisco has been working on integrating the Media Services Interface (MSI) into the WebEx Meeting Client.

For those unfamiliar with the MSI, it’s an SDK developed to enable applications to interact with a Cisco Medianet. One of the long standing challenges IT organizations have faced has been to harmonize the needs of applications and endpoints with the network services required to meet those needs. It’s been a case of ships in the night as network administrators have done their best to deliver services while having limited interaction with the endpoints and applications that leverage those services. Asking endpoints and applications to consistently implement all the networking protocols to enable them to leverage the network has often led to mixed results; inconsistent or incomplete protocol stack implementations led to interoperability issues with the burden usually falling on the end customer.

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