As the media landscape continues to evolve, IP based infrastructure is revolutionizing the way content is produced, distributed, and consumed. One of the primary challenges customers face in the media industry is to build fully nonblocking networks capable of handling the increased bandwidth requirements associated with higher resolutions beyond High Definition (HD) such as Ultra High Definition (UHD)/4K, and 8K content.

As a result, broadcasters worldwide are widely deploying IP, the need for reliable and interoperable solutions becomes critical to empower media companies to thrive in this new landscape. Enter Cisco and Imagine Communications, two of the major players driving innovation and deployment flexibility providing an end-to-end reliable management solution broadcasters can leverage when making their move to IP.

Today’s dynamic duo: Cisco IP Fabric for Media and Imagine Magellan Control System

Imagine and Cisco integrate end to end. The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches play a pivotal role in delivering industry leading infrastructure, supporting high density and bandwidth capacities, – current link speeds up to 400G and future advancements to handle speeds up to 800G – to enable future-proofed IP routing systems for even the largest media environments. As managing bandwidth in the control system is paramount, Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) facilitates multicast routing throughout networks working in conjunction with Cisco’s Non-Blocking Multicast (NBM) which brings bandwidth awareness to PIM, ECMP protocols, optimizing network efficiency.

Imagine’ Magellan Control System is an operator-centric control system that provides detailed view of SDI/IP routing signals and monitoring capabilities through highly configurable monitoring and control surfaces. Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media works in conjunction with Magellan Control System in NBM Active Mode, where the network orchestrates non-blocking paths from source to destination based on the broadcast controller’s intent to prevent oversubscription, a major challenge faced by media customers.

Interoperability is a key focus in this partnership, with both Imagine and Magellan™ Control System with Cisco IPFM working seamlessly across various vendors.  This commitment to interoperability allows for the creation of versatile production networks from major stadium broadcasts to mobile broadcasting units providing operators the flexibility they need to build cutting edge production environments.

Magellan Control System Integration with Cisco Nexus Dashboard

We are excited to share that Magellan Control System is fully integrated with Cisco’s Nexus Dashboard Fabric Controller (NDFC), leveraging the seamless backup and restore, migration process. Cisco NDFC provides a single point of management, streamlined automation, comprehensive monitoring, and visibility, for IP Fabric for Media (IPFM) deployments, providing the key linkages for the Magellan Control System to configure and manage the NBM pathways and policies facilitating secure, end to-end bandwidth efficiency. Magellan Control System creates “Flow Policies” in NDFC that inform NDFC of the bandwidth value associated with each multicast address. Magellan also creates “Flow Aliases” in NDFC to associate production names to each multicast flow – critical for system utility. Routing operations are performed in parallel on “A” and “B” networks in 2022-7 hitless configurations – for full 1+1 redundancy along the way from end to end. With Imagine and Cisco solutions, broadcast operators can be assured that their IP networks are future proofed, easy to operate, and optimized for agile and scalable production networks.

What’s next in the pipeline for IPFM with NDFC

Here are some new and upcoming features and capabilities that Cisco will be showcasing at NAB 2024!

  • Critical Events/Fault Notifications: IPFM Critical Events is a recent addition to the NDFC Events Analytics screen in NDFC 12.2.1, allowing users to look in critical events of infrastructure and help troubleshot issues in more efficient way. Users are notified with insight on critical events such as flow policy failures, insufficient bandwidth, host policy failure and more.
  • ST 2022-7 Fabric Redundancy Visualization with NDFC: As broadcasters continue to embrace IP, SMPTE 2022-7 allows broadcast end points to send and receive redundant streams, that will allow in case of errors to preserve integrity of the stream. Transport also allows redundancy, by building redundant paths. Corelating these paths through network can be a challenging task. In NDFC, we will further enhance visibility by providing a side-by-side view of the red and blue fabrics so enabling operators to monitor both network paths in tandem, ensuring a seamless flow of content.
  • Hybrid Cisco Catalyst 9000 and Cisco Nexus 9000 Deployments: Media Deployments are the next phase for operators looking to optimize their media networks. Customers are leveraging Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches for lighter/quiet audio environments where a smaller form factor is sufficient and Cisco Nexus 9000 switches for high bandwidth video workflows. In this hybrid environment, customers are looking to Cisco Nexus Dashboard and its fabric controller to be a single point of control facilitating ease of operation and management across both platforms.

The integration between Imagine Communications and Cisco is shaping the future of media technology. As the landscape evolves, this integration stands as a testament to the power of forward-thinking and interoperability in creating networks that are not just equipped for today’s demands but are also paving the way for the future of media production and distribution.

Want to Learn More?

I am excited to share that Cisco and Imagine Communications are hosting a Panel Session at NAB!

Meet Yousuf Khan, VP of Technical Marketing, Cisco Data Center Networking along with a panel of experts from Imagine, Insignia Events and Alpha talk about the industry transition to IP and how the Cisco and Imagine solution stack played a vital role in implementing ST 2110 at the Super Bowl Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals NFL Team.

Learn more about the session here! 

Meet with us at NAB Show 2024

Register and join Cisco at the 2024 NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 13-17! Cisco will be showcasing our industry-leading solutions through booth exhibits, speaker sessions, and meetings with industry experts.

Our booth is in West Hall booth #W2743, we look forward to seeing you there!


Learn more at the Sports, Media and Entertainment section of the Cisco Portfolio Explorer

Or book a meeting with us here


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Akshaya Premkumar

Product Manager

Cloud Networking