The Yin-Yang of Video-Aware Networking
A few weeks ago, 55,000 of my closest media, entertainment, and technology colleagues and I traveled to Amsterdam to attend IBC. IBC is a very special show where the worlds of technology and media collide. As the industry continues to evolve at warp speed, IBC this year proved to be an exceptional vehicle to bring some of the greatest minds in the industry together for discussion and sharing of innovation.
This year’s conference will have a strong focus on the role of technology in business transformation. As consumer demand grows for higher quality, more personalized video experiences, so too does the pressure on our networks to keep up. Configuration and operations can become complex, scalability with quality are often difficult to balance, and speed and security seem diametrically opposed. When it comes to quickly, securely, and efficiently moving video bits across the network, the future of video is the network. We call it ‘video-aware networking,’ and it will shift the future of video networks.
With Video Aware Networking, Cisco combines the synergies between the network and the video applications to deliver a better experience for the consumer. Video Aware Networking opens up the communication lines between the network and the applications. The network is made contextually aware of the applications and services it is running, and the applications will advertise to the network what it requires so that the network can supply it. It is a programmatic way operate networks and services, based on their needs, through APIs.
Achieving Video Aware Networking involves collecting information from the network and the application in real time, and translating it into specific, automated actions. It enables automated operations by correlating network telemetry information, improves quality of experience by solving video quality issues on the fly, provides dynamic content protection with real-time handling of security threats, and enables better subscriber monetization with user behavior information.
Here’s Cisco’s approach to Video Aware Networking, including Segment Routing and Smart Rate Control, which we showcased at IBC.
- Segment Routing, with its capacity for centralized and distributed intelligence and enhanced packet forwarding behavior, helps to solve the scale and complexity challenges that come with digitization and traffic growth. With video driving the lion’s share of IP traffic, it is only logical to extend Segment Routing (also called source-based routing) for video services, and automate routing of video traffic from source to destination, enabling better scale and better utilization of the installed network infrastructure. It’s an improvement over traditional link-based routing, where at each “hop” along a data journey, the next best step is established. Segment Routing creates “awareness” so that the network can adapt how it behaves, according to contextual information from the video applications that it transports.
- Smart Rate Control, a video encoding approach, is another key piece to the Video Aware Network. Smart Rate Control enables video rate shaping for bandwidth capacity optimization. It changes the way video applications behave, by acknowledging expected video quality targets and network bandwidth and matching the bit-rate needed, without wasting precious bandwidth.
These are some powerful things we have been doing in the data center to virtualize and automate broadcast production, all done in software containers, and we will demonstrate how our data center infrastructure is transforming live video production.
It is no secret that the industry is transforming. Cisco is diving deep to help our customers navigate change by ushering in the next era of the network with technologies that constantly learn, adapt, and protect. The future of video is the network and I look forward to sharing more about this innovation.