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

December 22, 2010 - 0 Comments

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.

An example would be around bandwidth reservation. Rather than having the option to accept or reject a bandwidth reservation request, interaction would enable the network to offer alternative reservations which the endpoint could still utilize. It’s far better to offer the endpoint the best service that is practically available than to offer no service at all. This in turn provides the network with the means to maximize service whilst still maintaining control over the resources and services at its disposal. This becomes particularly attractive as rich media endpoints can often support multiple codecs enabling them to receive media in different formats and at different resolutions. The flow of information need not always be from the client to the network. By exposing network services to the endpoints it would be possible to remove much of the guesswork that the quality of experience mechanisms that video conferencing solutions often provide. Rather than estimating the network status through analysis purely on the endpoints the prospect of enabling the client visibility into network performance from the network devices themselves would enable those endpoints to finely tune their functions and better align their user experience with the network resources available.

Rich media poses some of today’s biggest challenges to enterprise network architectures necessitating the need for medianet architectures. Just as the convergence of IP telephony lead to tighter integration and network innovations like automated port configuration and line power, the increasing demands of these rich media applications will necessitate tighter integration between network services and endpoints.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought about this blog series.

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