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This is the second part of a 3-part blog. In the first part, we discussed the challenges of deploying many different rich media applications in the enterprise.

So what is the path ahead for the rich media enabled enterprise?  Many of the challenges, well documented in other blogs, are not without network based solutions. Automated configuration via protocols such as CDP and LLDP to simplify deployment and bandwidth reservation through the RSVP protocol to maximize bandwidth usage have all been around for some time. The problem has not been the lack of network solutions but instead the lack of consistent adoption of these services across the range of rich media endpoints. If we are to expect diverse applications to optimize the usage of an increasingly precious and shared resource such as bandwidth its imperative that they leverage the network functions available and do so in a consistent manner. Up until this point network services and rich media applications have effectively been ships in the night as application vendors have designed their systems to work independently of the network services. This can work but only up and until a point. Network only solutions lack the contextual awareness of the endpoints. To the network divorced from its applications the traffic flows are barely distinguishable from each other and therefore applying services that optimize the experience and the network resources becomes impossible.

Likewise, solutions that focus purely at the application layer themselves have to play a guessing game as they do their best to detect changes in network performance levels and try to adjust to those changes. This is fraught with difficulties, especially in a multi-application environment since any single application has no visibility of what the other applications are doing and the impact they will have on the network leading to uncoordinated reactions to changes in network service. The network is the common denominator in these challenges and has the power to deliver controlled, consistent and scalable services for the converged rich media network. However it can no longer operate in isolation.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series, where we will conclude discussing the integration of networks and rich media applications.

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