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Medianet Readiness Assessment: Is your network ready for medianet?

Video applications such as telepresence, desktop video conferencing, video surveillance, digital signage and WebEx have become an essential part of the enterprise work environment, greatly improving efficiency and productivity in organizations.

Enterprise network IT operators are adding more and more of these applications on their IP network. Due to the nature of video traffic, these applications exert more demand on the existing IP network. If a network is not capable of handling these applications, then the application performance will degrade, resulting in a frustrating user experience. In this situation most of the network operators will tend to solve this problem by adding more bandwidth and capacity into the network, but that may not always solve this problem. 

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Convince Your Boss to Participate in World IPv6 Day

At this point, the technical community should already understand that IPv4 addresses are gone and that IPv6 is the best way to keep the Internet growing. Although we have known for years that this day would arrive, the community doesn’t always see the need to act. The common refrain is that there’s no killer app and no return on investment. Well, the Internet itself is the killer app – if a business uses the Internet for any reason at all today then that business needs deal with the fact that the public Internet will deploy IPv6 and react accordingly.  That encompasses a pretty broad set of scenarios – hosted services, online banking, student registration, government services, telecommuter access, remote site connections, backup network connections, partner sites, on-line advertising, retail, social media … the list goes on. 

Clients have started to demand IPv6 accessible services.  The U.S. Government is demanding IPv6 compliance as a condition in its procurements and organizations like ARIN will require IPv6 accessibility of vendor as a condition on their external contractors.  In the rapidly growing mobile telephony space, providers are looking to roll out native IPv6 service in order to reduce the network complexity and the reliance on Network Address Translation services.  Enterprises that provide native IPv6 connectivity will have an advantage in this space.

You may already have some ideas or plans to roll out or test IPv6, or may have spent some time testing in the lab. But how can you really see if your enterprise is ready to provide IPv6 services?

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Where are you? Location and Media – How location awareness will affect rich media applications

Does it really matter where you are? Increasingly it might; even for the rich media applications that customers are starting to deploy on their networks. Location services are already emerging as a powerful transformative force in consumer electronics. Smartphone applications can already use your location to do anything from finding you the nearest Thai restaurant to locating the nearest available parking space. Increasingly essential tools for modern life in the big city. But location is also emerging as a subtle and yet important service when applied to rich media applications.

Modern network infrastructure is increasingly able to pass location information to connected endpoints enabling a new range of location based endpoint services. At the mundane level, these location services are useful in logistical management of rich media applications. For surveillance, the ability to locate and track the movements of IP surveillance cameras enables improvements to dynamic asset tracking and loss prevention. This doesn’t just apply to the increasing number of wireless IP surveillance cameras but also to wired cameras. Relying on a connectivity test may enable an administrator to check whether a camera is still active but that’s no guarantee that the camera is still located in the correct location and is monitoring the right “scene.” For digital signage applications prevalent in retail and entertainment venues, the most common method of determining which content should be streamed to a particular media endpoint is usually based on location. The media endpoint located in the lobby of a sports stadium is highly likely to be playing media content which differs from that sent to a player in an executive suite. By applying location services, dynamically learnt from the network, it’s possible to automate the provisioning of these media endpoints and even ensures that the correct content is played, even if the endpoint is moved from one location to another.

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On Mystery Shoppers, Money Mules and the Average Time Between Births of a Sucker

I’d just started looking at all the bills from the Australian summer holiday trips, when this amusing email landed in my inbox…

Ladies and gentlemen!

Do you want to combine business and pleasure? Let us pay your purchases you make for us and become a professional “mystery shopper.”

“Mystery shoppers” check clients’ branches in the region and evaluate the service they are offered in the stores. You will check the condition of purchased goods at home and then send your feedback via Internet. The information you provide will help companies to estimate the quality of their service and improve it.

The reason I found the email so funny was the timing. Just a few weeks ago, Cisco released its Annual Security Report for 2010, and one of the more interesting items is around “Money Mules” and their recruitment.

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Improve Application Performance via PfR

In the evolution of IP routing, Cisco performance routing (PfR) is a more advanced routing mechanism. Compared to traditional IP routing protocols like Static routing, RIP, OSPF, EIGRP or BGP that use static metrics to provide reachability information to the higher layers, PfR enhances traditional IP routing by selecting the best path based on live measurements and configured policies.

As we move from applications hitherto satisfied with simple reachability to applications whose performance is directly tied to network performance, traditional IP routing protocols fall short. They cannot guarantee complex application SLA requirements as these parameters are not included in the decision making process. This void can be filled by a routing mechanism that takes applications’ requirements while making routing decisions. PfR makes adaptive routing decisions based on criteria like latency, packet loss, jitter, traffic load and configured cost policies. This ability to configure flexibility into the routing decision process makes PfR closer to applications.

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