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Avoiding Physical and Digital Traffic Jams


November 9, 2016 - 0 Comments

For as long as anyone can remember, making a car trip has involved the risk of hitting a traffic jam. Your journey might grind to a standstill for any number of reasons: bank holiday traffic, unexpected roadworks – or a local street party you never knew about…

But new developments in traffic management are starting to end this frustration by harnessing data from sensors on roads and vehicles, as well as apps and more. The time may come sooner than you think when motorways will use this information to manage your speed and satnavs will automatically route you away from problem spots. And that’s before we get on to the topic of driverless cars, seamlessly flowing through intersections without stopping.

This vision is becoming closer and closer to reality, thanks to rapidly developing network technology. Last year, Cisco partnered with the city of Hamburg in Germany to open Europe’s first ‘smart road’. It’s part of a project that aims to use a variety of sensors to help manage aspects of the city, like traffic flow, more intelligently. Timely and accurate data could help the city open moving bridges at the quietest times, for example, and reroute traffic around them when this happens.

Telemetry: feeding your network’s ‘brain’

The mind boggles when thinking about how to extend an operation like this across a city – not just for traffic but also lighting, port logistics and the environment. It’s a hugely complex undertaking that is beyond the capacity of any human brain to grasp at once. But when you have the right data, it becomes a real possibility.

The way modern networks function, managing masses of digital traffic moving at high speed, is pretty similar to the way cars travel through a city. Effectively, a programmable network uses a virtual ‘brain’ to make the ‘muscles’ of your existing infrastructure work harder and direct data packets more efficiently. But even a digital brain needs information to make decisions. This is the job of telemetry.

From pull to push

While data is required to manage any network, the difference with telemetry is that it provides large amounts in real time. Traditionally, network managers have polled operational data from their networks for information on what’s going on. But increasing complexity is making this approach inadequate, even when it’s carried out at regular intervals.

Telemetry turns this approach on its head by pushing data from the network automatically rather than waiting to be asked. It provides a constant flow of information in real time, that can be used to manage performance effectively. The data can be combined with programmable possibilities to spot problems in the network and automate diversions, or simply to route packets in the most efficient manner.

Of course, you don’t want any old data. That’s why Cisco’s telemetry technology uses intelligent models to structure it in a useful way. We use YANG to create our models because of its emergence as an industry standard that can be easily integrated with the monitoring tools you already have – or those you want to develop in future.

The data provided by our telemetry technology is also compatible with standard big data tools, enabling you to carry out further analysis. We’re committed to an open approach that encourages collaboration and flexibility, and enables future growth.

Route to the future

The way our telemetry technology enables digital traffic to take an intelligent route through a network is similar to how smart traffic management irons out physical bottlenecks. Whether the result is more uptime or happier drivers, data helps these systems operate with greater efficiency.

It’s highly appropriate that our programmable networks powered by telemetry are being used to develop smart systems in places such as Hamburg – and that big hitters like Netflix rely on telemetry to run their systems smoothly.

Doubtless the technology has many more possibilities yet to be imagined. What’s certain is that this is the route to the future – not just for cars, but for everything else, too.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • New developments in traffic management are starting to harness data from sensors to route traffic efficiently. This vision is becoming closer and closer to reality, thanks to rapidly developing network technology.
  • The way modern networks function, managing masses of digital traffic moving at high speed, is similar to the way cars travel through a city.
  • Effectively, a programmable network uses a virtual ‘brain’ to make the ‘muscles’ of your infrastructure work harder and direct data packets more efficiently. But even a digital brain needs information to make decisions. This is the job of telemetry.
  • Traditionally, network managers have polled operational data from their networks for information on what’s going on. Telemetry turns this approach on its head by pushing data from the network automatically rather than waiting to be asked.
  • Of course, you don’t want any old data. That’s why Cisco’s telemetry technology uses intelligent models to structure it in a useful way, that’s compatible with your existing monitoring tools.
  • If you want to learn more: visit our Evolved Programmable Network page.

Learn more about innovation in Programmable Networks here or watch our expert interview about Programmable Network.

 



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