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Why Are Video Packets Special? And What to Do About It

The holding pens for video content entering production facilities for editing are getting pretty full, and this year’s NAB trend lines only add more heft to the scene. More and more HD/3D content, for instance, will add 20 to 30% more bit bulk, per title; high definition streams alone can run as high as 4 Gbps.

Plus, there’s the core issue of video packets, in general. People often talk about how video has “special requirements,” relative to other standard IP applications, like email, voice, and related broadband Internet fare.

It’s true. Video does have more rigorous needs than other types of IP traffic.

Why? One contributor is simply packet size - video packets can be as large as 4 Megabytes - compared to packet sizes measured in mere kilobytes. As George Tupy, Digital Media Solutions Manager for Cisco, describes in the video below, it’s like the difference between cars and trains, attempting to merge on a highway.

In this sense, the cars are “regular” IT data packets, the trains are the video packets, and the highway is the IP backbone.  Obviously, merging cars on a highway is one thing, and not a big deal. Merging trains on the same size highway requires one or more to wait (or crash.)

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Trends at NAB 2010 and News from Cisco and Intelsat

Up until recently, the rallying cry from the annual gathering of broadcast TV professionals centered on the “digital transition,” or, the 2009 deadline by which U.S. broadcasters shifted their analog transmissions to an all-digital format.

At this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, though, “all digital” is assumed, and the buzz of the show is “all-IP,” as a foundation for 3D, HD, and multi-platform television expanded.

A case in point: Cisco’s news with Intelsat, to partner on a first-of-its-kind delivery platform that blends both satellite and terrestrial delivery technologies. That means Intelsat’s customers will be able to specify a delivery path -- say, Chicago to San Francisco, or New York to L.A. -- and the Cisco-powered Intelsat platform will determine the best and most cost-effective transmission route with built in resiliency.

Specifically, Intelsat S.A., a 45-year provider of global, fixed satellite services, is outfitting what it calls its “IntelsatONE” platform with an unprecedented combination of IP/MPLS networking, fiber, teleports, and points of presence -- all integrated with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet. Our work with Intelsat is a gratifying and important reference for a global IP video network. It shows the importance of combining the flexibility of IP networking with the leading edge video technology, all controlled by one comprehensive management platform.

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Challenges of Real Time Data Exchange and Updates on Speaking Engagements

Admittedly it’s been two months since my last blog update that focused on the MPLS-Ethernet World Congress held in Paris, France.

Actually, I have been thinking about real time data exchange challenges and opportunities between service providers or even “served up” through a cloud. Characterizing “real time” could be in the form of video, telepresence, voice, on-line games as examples, where mitigating latency is a must e.g. between clients-servers; agreement on what the optimal communications protocol should be and so on in order to deliver these services as expected by the consumer.

Jim Waldo, Sun Microsystems Laboratories, articulates some of the scaling challenges related to entertainment e.g. on-line games and virtual worlds, in his article published for ACM and entitled, “Scaling in Games and Virtual Worlds,”

The IETF has the Virtual World Region Agent Protocol (VWRAP) Working group, with the charter to define a protocol that “permits users to interact as digital representations called ‘avatars’.

 ”An avatar exists in at most one location within a shared
virtual space. Conforming client applications use the protocol to
manipulate and move the user’s avatar, create virtual objects,
interact with other users and their surroundings, consume and create
media and information from sources inside and outside their simulated
environment.”

Entertainment-centric applications like on-line gaming and virtual world instantiation will certainly stimulate innovation on current IP-based networks, in addition to the Internet; ditto for novel client-server scaling mechanisms.

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Social Media Marketing for Service Providers: Sean O’Driscoll – Successful Influencer Programs

Watch as Sean O’Driscoll, Co-Founder & CEO of Ant’s Eye View, discusses how businesses can create successful influencer programs, such as the MVP program, to build more personal relationships with their customers. He focuses on the benefits to building an influencer program, the first few things you need to know upon building an influencer program, integrating influencer programs into your current businesses program, and how to measure success. Ant’s Eye View is a consulting company that guides organizations to understand the voice of customers through collaboration, social media, and community/influencer strategy development.

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Cisco ASR 9000 Passes the Test at NTT America

Cisco ASR 9000 SeriesThe Cisco ASR 9000 series is showing great momentum - and that’s no laughing matter to our esteemed competitors in the industry (we agree wholeheartedly with Craig Matsumoto of Lightreading.com - it would make for a very bland April Fool’s joke.)

But when it comes to the world’s most powerful edge router, we are very serious.

Today, we announced with NTT America their deployment of  the ASR 9000. They intend to boost the capacity of their aggregation network, in part because of the increasing demand for high-definition video transit and the impending shortage of IPv4 addresses. They’re actually part of a global service provider with many large customers in the financial, entertainment, media, and telecommunications industries. Parent company NTT Japan is a trendsetter and sees the need to prepare for the next generation Internet.  NTT Japan, in fact, has the largest capacity of any global Tier 1 network across the Pacific ocean at over 300 gigabits per second (Gbps). Certainly, they are making sure they have a lot of room for texts, Tweets, and TelePresence (or video, mobile, and cloud as we like to say). At Cisco, we too see the rapid bandwidth growth that will only grow. The Cisco Visual Networking Index expects Global IP traffic is expected to increase fivefold from 2008 to 2013. IP traffic in Asia Pacific will lead this growth worldwide, forecasted to reach 21 exabytes per month in 2013, accounting for more than one-third of the global traffic.

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