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Cisco CRS-3: Foundation for the Next Generation Internet

The public Internet has dramatically evolved since its inception. Likewise, so has the upward limit of expectations for IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN) infrastructure to power it.

When the Internet was founded in the 1960′s, its designers were focused on building a robust, fault-tolerant and distributed computer network for the military, scientists and research institutes. Even in their sci-fi dreams, they likely didn’t think of TelePresence or iPhones or seemingly infinite amounts of video running over the network…but that’s just what happened. Now, even the notion of looking at the Internet as a key for basic communications, such as email, is antiquated in favor of rich media applications for our Connected Lives (…and to think that the email and basic web-centric view was just over 10 years ago). I can still quite easily recall being excited over a 56.6 modem and thinking it was blazing fast, and I’m not that old! (No comments from the gallery on my age, please!)

While the use of the network has changed dramatically, so too must the technology and architecture used to support it.

One thing that hasn’t changed throughout these changes though is Cisco’s perspective that Service Providers are instrumental in making these new experiences happen. At Cisco, we want to develop new technology that enables these providers to deliver the services that power economies, promote creativity, and fundamentally change how we are able to work, live, learn and play…and to that end, I’m pleased to announce that once again, we are doing just that.

Imaginable: Planning for New Experiences
Today, the service provider’s ability to deliver more of the branded, rich, integrated experiences -- rather than just basic access -- will be essential in their transformation from service providers to experience providers.

The key to this transformation involves building the capabilities to deliver applications and services on a robust infrastructure designed in anticipation of the future -- knowing that it’s somewhat unpredictable.

The limitation, however, with the networks today is that they are designed to scale only in the predictable core to subscriber direction, and not in the data center to data center direction.

Therefore, merely increasing network platform component-level capacity would be short-sighted because the shift in traffic patterns also dictates the requirement for an architectural solution.

Introducing the Cisco CRS-3: Unmatched Scalability & Supporting Multi-Directional Patterns
Cisco’s answer to this challenge comes in the form of the CRS-3, our new flagship platform and quite simply, the industry’s most powerful, most capable, and more efficient core router ever created.

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Cisco’s Exponential Marketing in Action

More than a decade ago, the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto outlined the trends that were reshaping the process of marketing communications. And, as we approach the South-by-Southwest interactive festival (SXSW) here in my hometown, the great city of Austin, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how amazing it is that people are now “voting” with their tweets, blogs and communities -- refusing to accept communications-as-usual.

As a result, the way we produce and propagate content that we’ve created, and how we communicate our point of view, has clearly evolved since that time.

While we still have quite a bit to learn, we have made progress. Based upon the feedback that we received, we applied more listening, interacting, learning, and adapting to our current methodology. We’ve found ways to share our “human voice” via the SP360 blog, and the various other new media channels at our disposal.

Like many forward-looking companies, we have embraced the tools of social media to aid us in reaching out to our numerous stakeholder groups within our customers, and the other “communities of interest” that we actively seek to engage in a dialogue.

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Measuring the Ever-Advancing Services Adoption – Introducing Cisco CLUE

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast has provided insightful projections and become the leading source of IP traffic growth worldwide, and today, I’m pleased to announce a sister program to VNI that is intended to do for service adoption what VNI has done for traffic growth.

The Cisco Connected Life User Experience Index, or CLUE, measures the relative regional adoption of select end user advanced applications/services across three user categories spanning our Connected Lives -- at home (residential services), at work (business services) and on-the-move (mobile services). This index provides a quick snapshot of how regions rank relative to each other in their adoption of these advanced services within each category and also provides a quick snapshot of ranking of various services within each category relative to the portfolio of the other selected advanced services.

To help showcase the differences that will evolve over time, we’ve designed Cisco CLUE to be an un-weighted index, just like a market capitalization stock index. In a market capitalization index, companies with the largest market capitalizations, or the greatest values, have the highest values in the index. Similarly services with highest adoption relative to the addressable market have the highest values in the individual category indices.

Cisco CLUE - At Home Global Index

CLUE sets the foundation for us to measure the changing mix of service adoption worldwide. In the next rev of this research, which we plan to update on an annual basis, we’ll be able to showcase not only the type of adoption that is occurring but the scope and speed of it as well. While this is just our initial release, there are some very interesting findings that we gain from this baseline data. For example:

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T-Systems APM Service Wins Award for Most Innovative IP Service

Last year T-Systems launched an innovative managed service based on the joint Cisco Wide Area Application Service (WAAS) and CA NetQoS Application Performance Service.

T-Systems recently won the award for “Most Innovative Service Provider Offering” from Cisco at the 2010 Cisco Live conference in Barcelona. The Innovation Awards at Cisco Live honor outstanding achievements in the deployment and successful implementation of innovative technologies from a number of outstanding candidate services.

The award-winning Application Performance Management Service from T-Systems is a package of services with three modules for analyzing (ICT Analyze), monitoring (ICT Monitor) and optimizing (ICT Optimize) enterprise network and IT infrastructure. Although each module can be implemented separately, customers derive the best results when they implement all three modules as a single service package. Analysis, monitoring, and optimization complement and reinforce each other.

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The Superbowl and the medianet

It’s always exciting to be a part of a string of important video technology trends. It’s even more exciting to be a part of a string of important video technology trends that happen at the Super Bowl.

The February 7th matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts included three technology twists. On the surface, and to the (record-setting) 106 million television viewers, they combined to create a replay so flawless in video detail, a call was overturned -- putting the Saints in the lead by two points.

But underlying that was an earlier series of decisions: A 10-camera array, transmitted in uncompressed digital, over IP.

Published reports about the setup reveal some initial internal concerns about technical overkill. But over and over throughout the game, the additional cameras, edited in uncompressed form, yielded an unprecedented level of visual precision -- which resulted in overwhelmingly positive professional and public reviews. (See “CBS Sports Delivers Winning Telecast as Production Team Excels,” 2010-FEB-9roadcasting & Cable Magazine)

Behind the scenes, two other important things were going on. One was the decision to use uncompressed digital camera outputs, rather than MPEG-compressed versions. Compression is an unparalleled way to conserve bandwidth, but it works by throwing away duplicative bits, from one frame of video to the next - a technique that is inherently “lossy.”

By contrast, uncompressed video is “lossless.” Nothing is lost, no bits are thrown away. Uncompressed, “lossless” transmission of the camera outputs is what gave CBS Sports editors the raw video bit strength to broadcast hyper-accurate slow motion, for the overturn call, and multiple camera angles, to deal with the no-huddle strategies of both teams.

When you’re in video production, it’s fairly simple: You want as much detail as possible. You want lossless. You want uncompressed.

Technology twist number three is where we come in. Our partner, Level 3, stepped up with the fiber resources to enable a clean, wide, 1.5 Gbps passageway between Florida and New York - a distance of more than 1,200 route miles and placed our Digital Content Manager Gateways (DCMs) at both ends of the fiber, to encapsulate the uncompressed HD video streams into IP for transmission.

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