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What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting Have in Common? Part 2

April 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm PST

What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting have in Common?

If you read my previous blog then you’ll already know that the answer is Medianet. In Part 1 of this 2 Part blog series I discussed the new reverse Metadata capability, provided by a Cisco network, that allows an Enterprise to enable granular QoS marking for all the different media streams that make up a WebEx meeting. In this 2nd instalment, we’re going to take a look at how we can extend Medianet’s Mediatrace capability to Cisco’s 79XX, 89XX and 99XX IP Phone portfolio.

The other recent innovation for Medianet is Prime Collaboration’s ability to now invoke a Mediatrace for a number of IP Phones models that don’t support the MSI (Media Services Interface). As these devices cannot originate Metadata, it has been previously impossible start a Mediatrace through end point selection for telephones in Prime Collaboration. It is now possible, reactively and proactively, to troubleshoot voice quality issues on 79XX, 89XX and 99XX devices, using the same combination of Medianet and Prime Collaboration tools that have previously only been applicable to personal and room based video systems. Take a look at one of my previous blogs, “Medianet in Action”, for some additional background material on video troubleshooting. The demonstration below shows how to start a Mediatrace for a pair of phones.

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What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting Have in Common? Part 1

April 15, 2014 at 11:37 am PST

What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting have in Common?

The answer is Medianet, which in conjunction with a Cisco network can provide an innovative solution for two very different real life problems. In Part 1 of this 2 Part blog we’re going to discuss how customers can use Medianet Metadata to provide a robust QoS mechanism for the WebEx cloud service within their Enterprise Networks. Keep an eye out for Part 2  where we’re going to take a look at how we can extend Medianet’s Mediatrace capability to Cisco’s 79XX, 89XX and 99XX IP Phone portfolio. I’ll also point out the benefits for each of these completely different Medianet use cases.

WebEx is a SaaS Conferencing service providing web based data, audio and video conferencing for millions of users. As it’s a cloud service, it’s inherently secure and in a lot of use cases it will tunnel all its media streams within HTTPS. That’s great for secure transport, but it’s resultantly challenging to map the constituent parts of the WebEx application into a granular Enterprise QoS policy. Why would we want to do that anyway? Isn’t it good enough to mark all the WebEx traffic the same?  As the saying goes, there is a method to our madness.The tunnelled WebEx traffic contains control packets, data-sharing traffic and possibly VoIP, which are relatively low bandwidth media streams. On the flip side any tunnelled video traffic will likely be bandwidth hungry by nature. The challenge we want to circumvent is how to ensure the WebEx video traffic does not “swamp” the other types of meeting traffic. Ultimately, we want to allow end users to enable the video service they have paid for, without the risk of video having a negative impact on the overall quality of the online conference. We do everything with the end user in mind to make sure you have the best possible experience.

For those of you that don’t know, a WebEx client can generate Medianet Metadata. In simple terms, Metadata is a way for a Cisco application to announce itself to a Cisco network. In the case of WebEx, different Metadata packets are transmitted onto the network, uniquely identifying all the component media streams (including video) that comprise a WebEx conference. This allows a Cisco network to useWebEx Metadata to differentiate between any WebEx traffic types, even when securely tunnelled over a HTTPS connection. The figure below provides an illustration of the different Metadata packets that will be generated for different types of WebEx traffic.

Figure 1 – Identifying Different Flows using Metadata

Figure 1 – Identifying Different Flows using Metadata

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Medianet in Action

November 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm PST

I recently wrote a blog discussing the Value of Medianet in which I listed the benefits and associated costs of adoption. Remember that in simple terms Medianet enables a granular QoS policy and also provides a systematic approach for video troubleshooting. In this article I’m going to provide an example of Medianet in action as it has been my experience that most people, at least initially, struggle to visualize the impact Medianet has on the day to day operations of a Cisco collaboration solution running over a Cisco networking infrastructure.

In my previous blog I said that “Medianet reduces operational support costs.” I’m now going to attempt to show you how.

The first thing we can enable is edge monitoring, which allows the IT team to centrally check upon the health on any given endpoint and also ascertain its call status. Take a look at this video below:

As useful as it is, end point monitoring is only of limited benefit when problems start to occur. Electronic confirmation of what impacted end users are seeing is not what is actually required. We need a way to proactively troubleshoot issues as soon as they appear. The combination of Medianet enabled applications communicating with a Medianet enabled network, which is overseen by an intelligent management application is the means by which Cisco provides this. Read More »

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New Video Services and The Impact on Networks – Part 1

Video based services have become a strong focus point of today’s business and personal needs. Whilst low-resolution video services with limited immersive capabilities have been around for two decades, the technology and infrastructure has finally grown to a point where services requiring good, or excellent, user experience can be delivered in an optimal manner.

Furthermore, the evolution of the office space from centralised and corporate owned employee application devices to a flexible Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is moving the trust model from physical devices to application-based authentication, thereby increasing the need to redefine the rules for video delivery.

These changes are putting pressure on network infrastructures to keep up with the growth of those services.

I have therefore asked Thomas Kernen, Consulting Systems Engineer, to provide me with some insight into those changes. Thomas leads Cisco’s participation in many video industry and standards fora. Read More »

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Exciting Medianet Enhancements in Cisco’s New VSM 7.2 Solution!

At ASIS 2013 in Chicago, Cisco and ActionPacked! Networks will be demonstrating new Cisco Medianet capabilities integrated into the VSM (Video Surveillance Manager) 7.2 solution and ActionPacked! networks’ LiveAction.

With this release, an MSI-enabled management station such as LiveAction will be able to securely connect with the media server, IP cameras, and the client viewer to troubleshoot QoE issues. LiveAction has built compelling visualizations of the progress of a mediatrace and results.

Troubleshooting with Mediatrace provides IT administrators the ability to quickly detect any network issues and pinpoint the root cause these issues in the network. This is significant in IP video surveillance deployments of any scale as they operate in a shared network environment and contend for resources with other applications running on the network.

A sample screenshot below: Read More »

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