Cisco Touts 'Zero-Loss' Video Transport


Cisco Systems is promoting a suite of features for its IP routers that it claims can let cable operators and broadcasters ensure HD video traffic never gets disrupted or degraded.

The features -- collectively branded as Cisco Internet Protocol-Next Generation Network (IP NGN) Video Optimized Transport -- are designed to ensure high-quality video from contribution source through primary and secondary distribution networks (e.g., service provider to customer).

Using proprietary techniques, the IP NGN Video Optimized Transport features let Cisco's ASR 9000 and 7600 routers work together to intelligently monitor traffic quality and network conditions, to reroute video around network congestion and failures.

"It's really the foundation for the next generation of zero-loss video delivery," said Biren Mehta, Cisco marketing manager for service provider routing and switching.

The multicast over fast reroute (MoFFR) feature is included with the latest Cisco IOS software release.

Cisco's VidMon feature, which monitors, detects and isolates video quality impairments, is licensed at $20,000 per node. On the ASR 9000 router, VidMon can handle 160 Gigabits per second per slot inline video monitoring without dedicated hardware appliance or network blades, according to Cisco. The company launched the ASR 9000 in November 2008. 

The advantage of Cisco's IP-NGN Video Optimized Transport solution is that it's software based, Mehta said, whereas other solutions require hardware components and spare unused capacity.

Another feature in the suite, "hitless stream merge," can intelligently reroute a duplicate stream to an end user. Currently that feature is available in Cisco's DCM (Digital Content Manager) appliance but eventually Cisco expects to merge that into the ASR 9000 and 7600 routers as well.

India's Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), the official telecom provider for the country's Commonwealth Games 2010 this past October, collaborated with Cisco and systems integrator HCL Infosystems to design, build and operate a high-quality HD uncompressed broadcast contribution network based on the Cisco IP NGN-Video Optimized Transport technology.

According to MTNL, the telecom provider delivered more than 300 Gbps of all-HD uncompressed video traffic from 25 Commonwealth Games broadcast compounds throughout the event, which was then streamed live for international broadcast over an NGN infrastructure,

More than 1 billion users worldwide will be watching online video by the end of 2010 and video traffic is projected to grow more than 500% to almost half a Zettabyte over the next five years, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index Forecast, 2009-2014.