Century’s Longest Solar Eclipse Broadcast Live Over Cisco’s Most Powerful Routing Platform
Astronomy has always fascinated me. The thrill of exploring space and its deep mysteries gripped me in my growing years, but this curiosity never really turned into a full-time career. So last week I was really excited to know that Cisco’s platforms took part in a rare celestial event, occurring next only in 2132 A.D.While here in the US, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the moon walk on July 20, 2009, two days later our celestial neighbor showed off its prowess across Asia & Japan. It blotted out the sun for the longest total solar eclipse in this century even as millions watched it.In Japan, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in collaboration with Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Ultra-Realistic Communications Forum (URCF) took the initiative of broadcasting this event live over the JGN2Plus network. The event was captured at Amami-Oshima (where the totality was at the maximum) and broadcast to various locations throughout Japan – Keihanna Plaza, ABC Hall, Tsukuba Expo Center, Osaka Science Museum.The technology provided by Cisco for the event included CRS-1 routing platform with Secure Domain Routing (SDR), Catalyst 3560E/3750E with DWDM, and Unified IP Phones 7985G. Two SDRs were created on the CRS-1 using Distributed Route Processors (DRP) with each domain maintaining complete isolation of hardware and software resources.The eclipse was captured using two formats (2 times HD, 4 times HD), standard HD video being 1920×1080 resolution. The two streams were transmitted to the CRS-1 at Dojima over the JGN2Plus network. The CRS-1 with 2 SDRs sent these streams to the Catalyst 3560E switch which in turn sent the traffic to Asahi Broadcasting location over DWDM. Each SDR had a 10Gbps port transmitting uncompressed ultra-HD video (2xHD, 4xHD). The 4xHD stream raw throughput topped 9Gbps. At this location, another CRS-1 terminated these streams and then distributed them across the country. Viewers watched the event live projected in whole-sky dome theatres at each location.This ground-breaking network was one of the world’s first in capturing a live astronomical event, thus enhancing collaboration between space sciences and telecommunications.My astronomical career lives on, vicariously.