Contributed By Ken Morse, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group
It’s probably not all that surprising, given the state of the video marketplace these days, that what’s top of mind for me is the migration of video to IP (Internet Protocol) everything.
At this point, I think we’re all fairly clear on what the end game looks like – pick any definition you favor about “TV Everywhere” and “the four Anys” (anytime, anywhere, any thing, any device). I think we can all agree that that’s where we’re headed.
The challenge now is that so many different paths exist to get there. As usual!, right? Differences between service providers exist for understandable reasons: Starting position (which options were selected for bandwidth creation/preservation?), plant configuration (switched or not?), and economics (what’s the budget?)
As a vendor, one of the bigger challenges in building products for the IP video migration is identifying which elements to put in the toolbox, to support all of the different ways service providers are considering. There’s the QAM termination approach, there’s the “run high-speed data to the hilt” approach, and several other options in the middle.
My view is, serve them all by gradually “virtualizing” the elements in the toolbox. Encapsulate the functionalities of a particular component - whatever it is - and then instantiate those same functionalities on another device.
The industry’s flagship Edge router, the Cisco ASR 9000 Series, just got bigger and better. Today, we’re announcing an expansion of the series with the Cisco ASR 9922 and the Cisco ASR 9000v. But this is far more than just adding some cool new boxes to the family (though they are quite cool…) Rather, this is about how they all work together as one, creating a Cisco ASR 9000 System…which has massive capacity of up to 96 Terabits per second -- that’s more for the edge of the network than the original CRS-1 delivered to the core when it was introduced. To put this capacity in perspective, with 96 Tbps, a single Cisco ASR 9000 System:
Could stream recordings of all Super Bowls, World Cup, and Cricket World Cup matches ever played in less than one second - in high definition;
Every man, woman and child in Beijing, London and Moscow (~43 million people) could watch a HD video movie -- simultaneously;
180,000 DVD’s could be downloaded every minute, and
the entire library of congress could be downloaded in 4 seconds
It’s able to achieve such an incredible level of capacity - more than 36x that of the competitive offerings -- because of the new nV technology which helps the various ASR 9000 units act as a system. This Cisco innovation connects all of these different units - two primary the Cisco ASR 9922/9010/9006 units + over 1900 Cisco ASR9000v units - together, and operates them as a single “super” unit, breaking the boundaries of the Edge, Aggregation and Access parts of the network. Like, say a bank with ATMs, all the intelligence resides centrally in the primary units but is able to service the needs of many different, disparate remote locations with the same high quality of experience. This unique systems approach makes it easier for the operator to manage because it acts not as 1900 different unit but rather as a single, integrated one. New software update? No problem - nV technology distributes it easily from the central location, preventing operators from having to individually update 1900 different ones.
Service providers and network operators certainly have their share of challenges: (1) Keep up with dramatic increases in data traffic, number and types of devices, speed and bandwidth; (2) Satisfy user demand for enriched experiences, particularly mobile and video; and (3) Simplify operations while deploying and scaling new services. And, oh, don’t forget, do all this while cutting costs.
In an ongoing effort to highlight the “Super Simple” developments in Cisco’s service provider technology portfolio, I am blogging once again about a key customer, NTT Plala Inc., part of the NTT group of Japan. They’ve been a Cisco customer for some time, but recently deployed the Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series (ASR 9000) to enhance their Internet access service. Plala seeks to build a faster yet secure wideband Internet service while optimizing energy consumption. The need for speed is being driven by the demand for services such as video (Hikari TV), and business Internet (“Business Plala”).
One area that the NTT Group has been truly on the leading edge has been IPv6 deployments and the need to be ready for IPv4 address space exhaustion. All of their equipment must be “IPv6 ready”, and the Cisco ASR 9000 is no exception. We’ve communicated the fact that the need to prepare is now, but what’s amazing is when you compare the actual exhaust date to the estimate published by CNN (Sept 1999) over a decade earlier: “The Great IP Crunch of 2010.” Being off by only 10% a full decade out is quite an accomplishment in the fast moving technology industry! What’s just as interesting, from my standpoint at least, is that the 1999 article mentions only one company by name that was preparing in advance: Japan’s NTT.
“Deploying Cisco ASR 9000, companies can get a highly scalable platform that allows them to offer enhanced security service,” said Katsumi Nagata, Board Director, General Manager of NTT Plala. “The environment surrounding ISPs is getting highly complex. Companies are facing many challenges including the need to respond to increasing video traffic and reduce power consumption. Cisco ASR 9000 offers solutions to each of these challenges.”
At Cisco, we are proud to work and now public announce NTT Plala as one of the more than 500 ASR 9000 Series customers around the world, and we look forward to continued growth and appreciate the confidence they’ve placed in us.
In the fifth annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015) released earlier this week, we indicated that the total amount of global Internet traffic is expected to quadruple by 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. This growth is driven by four primary factors: an increasing number of devices; more Internet users; faster broadband speed; and more video. In addition, the study forecasts that by 2015, the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic (24.1 exabytes per month), supplanting North America (22.3 exabytes per month) for the top spot. Such a shift is indicative of not only the region’s growing economies but also of the increased broadband penetration in the region, permitting more and more of the large Asia Pacific populations to get online and become both consumers and generators of IP traffic.
One of the useful elements of the VNI, highlighted in my earlier post, is the ability to easily analyze the data to generate specific, customized views of trends as it pertains to various regions, countries, and service types . Using the VNI Forecast Widget (see the link above), I was easily able to take a closer look at traffic forecasts in China and generate the graph below. This shows that by 2015, Internet traffic in China is estimated to be six times what it is in 2010 – a rate that is significantly faster than the global average (figure below is in Exabytes per month). How will enough network capacity to handle all of these IP packets be provided?