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It’s 9 o’clock. Do you know how your media applications are performing?

Enterprises have reported upward increases in bandwidth requirements due to video applications which stem from several sources:

  • Video applications move from standard to high definition resolutions.
  • New applications are coming online.
  • Number of video endpoints is increasing.
  • Utilization of video is increasing due to improved quality and easier user experience.
  • More video applications are moving to the converged IP network.

All of these are driving increases in bandwidth requirements. As video is deployed on your network, evaluate your bandwidth, but do not stop there. Other important topics are management tools and services in the network for ease of configuration and quality of service guarantees for applications. Read More »

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Business Video Increases Demands on the Network

The use of video in enterprises has been growing rapidly as many enterprises are realizing the value of video. Many enterprises use video for multiple aspects of their business operations including corporate communications, team meetings, e-learning, digital signage and the use of video assets within their business processes. Likely a combination of video technologies and tools are required to meet the enterprise needs.

Different video applications will behave differently and put different demands on the network. The chart below illustrates a range of business video applications with different characteristics and network requirements.

Telepresence is two-way real-time video while streaming video is one-way broadcast video. Telepresence has stringent network requirements and it is highly sensitive to latency, jitter and loss, whereas streaming video can better tolerate delays; by buffering a larger amount of content before rendering it, in order to smooth out the video experience and compensate for network jitter.

Generally speaking, it is straight forward to provision the network for Telepresence as long as you know how many rooms are in your network, the typical usage pattern (e.g. 60% usage between office hours) and the traffic characteristics. In contrast to Telepresence, it is much harder to provision the network for desktop collaboration video as the usage pattern is not as well defined. Worst yet, do you know how many users are equipped with high definition web cameras built into their laptop on your network? The situation is exasperated by new collaboration tools with one click away, what started as a low bandwidth instant messaging session could end up be a high bandwidth video desktop collaboration session.

These are just some examples of the challenges associated with deploying, managing and assuring quality of business video applications. As more types of video applications that pose different demands into the network are deployed, the need for intelligent networks like medianets become critical. Medianets can simplify and reduce costs of deploying video, as well as efficiently use network resources and dynamically adapt to changing network conditions and demands from different video applications to deliver optimal video quality.

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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 3

December 22, 2010 at 8:05 am PST

In part 2 of this blog series, I discussed the need for the network to operate in collaboration with rich media applications to deliver quality services.

The key to a successful medianet architecture is the integration of endpoint/application and network to deliver a flexible end to end system. By exchanging information between these two entities, it enables the network to deliver the right services to the application whilst maximizing the resources available. This enables the network to understand the changing requirements of the application and can lead to the endpoint explicitly asking for services, such as recording and transcoding, rather than the network relying on traffic analysis to determine whether a service is needed or not. Intelligent interaction would also enable the network to negotiate service levels with the endpoints.

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Better Together – The Inevitable Integration of Networks and Rich Media Applications – Part 2

December 16, 2010 at 9:14 am PST

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.

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