In the coming weeks, Cisco will begin shipping the latest releases for the Cisco TelePresence endpoints, which has important implications for those customers looking to roll out a medianet-enabled infrastructure. With the new release, the Media Services Interface (MSI) will ship by default, enabling both the Media Monitoring and Media Awareness solutions for these endpoints. For network administrators, utilizing Media Monitoring in networks managed by Cisco Prime Collaboration Manager and other certified 3rd party management tools, it will now be possible to proactively monitor the network contribution to the end-user’s quality of experience. Being able to monitor key performance metrics (such as packet loss, jitter and delay) will enable network administrators to quickly identify if network service is adversely impacting experience and—in conjunction with Mediatrace—provide them with the ability to dynamically gather the end-to-end diagnostics needed for rapid problem resolution. Quite often, one of the biggest operational challenges with rich media conferencing is detecting and troubleshooting intermittent network quality issues. Often the end user has to complain to the IT department, the video administrator then tries to locate the problem, and by the time they engage the network administrator, the problem has disappeared. This leads to the two operations groups wasting hours trying to be at the right place at the right time to pick up their issues. With Performance Monitor now on both the network and on the endpoints, the operations team can proactively identify the issues and dynamically gather the necessary diagnostics as the problem occurs, rather than attempting to manually gather them after the problem has disappeared. With support in these high value applications, administrators can expect to reduce operational costs and maintain high levels of customer service.
With the addition of Media Awareness to these platforms, network administrators will have far greater visibility and granularity when it comes to capacity planning and operational visibility. Prior to this innovation, much of the media traffic generated by these endpoints was barely distinguishable from other applications that use RTP, including regular IP phones. With the additional metadata being passed from endpoint to the network via the MSI, administrators will have granular information about each of the flows traversing the network, simplifying capacity planning by helping network administrators visualize what media and how much of it is consuming existing network resources. When combined with the performance monitoring capabilities in the medianet-enabled network platforms, administrators can also easily correlate which applications are getting good network services and which are unduly suffering.
The addition of the Media Services Interface (MSI) to these platforms is a major step forward in delivering Cisco’s Medianet architecture to customers, building towards a critical mass of medianet- enabled applications. The resulting reduction in operational costs and acceleration of rich media deployment will hopefully serve as a model that will encourage other applications to get the best out of a medianet-enabled network infrastructure.