Thursday, September 8, 2005

Cisco Outlines its Video/IPTV Strategy

Cisco Systems outlined its approach for offering an open, standards-based approach to video/IPTV deployment with multiple middleware vendors, headend platforms, conditional access devices, video servers and IP set-top boxes.

Cisco said its strategy is to enable three layers of convergence -- network convergence, which saves providers money; service convergence, which binds networks and applications together; and application convergence, which helps them drive revenue.

Network Convergence

At the Network Convergence Layer of the IP NGN, Cisco video/IPTV deployments provide linkages among the network, middleware and video/IPTV applications through the Carrier Routing System (CRS-1), the XR 12000 and 7600 Series routers, the Cisco Catalyst switch family and optical networking equipment including the Cisco ONS15454 multiservice provisioning/transport platform (MSPP/MSTP) and the Cisco ONS15600 multiservice switching platform (MSSP).

Cisco announced general availability of the 8-port 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) shared port adapter (SPA) for the CRS-1, which now offers continuous scaling of up to 768 ports per rack and up to 55,296 ports per system. The CRS-1 is positioned to connect the super headend, video headend and video serving office (VSO) in national and metro networks.

Recent enhancements to the Cisco 7600 Series routing portfolio for supporting IPTV in distributed video and aggregation applications include:

  • Optimization of network utilization with Dynamic Multicast -- Minimizes providers' bandwidth needs for a larger number of live TV channels.

  • Video/IPTV-optimized Asymmetric Networking -- Enables providers to deploy only the network bandwidth needed in each direction to support video services.

  • Enhanced security with Source-specific Multicast (SSM) -- Designed to prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

  • Broadcast Source Redundancy -- Enables load sharing among live TV broadcast sources with dynamic failover.

Service Convergence

At the Service Convergence Layer of the IP NGN, Cisco is providing service control intelligence in the Service Exchange Framework (SEF). The open SEF tightly integrates the network and application layers with middleware vendors, headend platforms, conditional access devices, video servers and IP set-top boxes. This includes:

  • Cisco Broadband Policy Manager -- Provides universal subscriber access and automates policy control operations with business rules to deliver services. It is an open platform which seamlessly integrates Cisco products with OSS/BSS and multi-vendor networks.

  • Video Admission Control in Cisco 7600 Series routers -- Maintains high-quality end-user experience in oversubscribed networks by dynamically determining when network-wide resources can support a video session.

  • Detect and manage authorized or unauthorized third-party video content over broadband -- Deep packet inspection and application classification enabled by the Cisco Service Control Engine enables providers to offer multi-tiered, application-and-subscriber-aware services.

  • Content virtualization -- The Cisco Content Engine provides intelligent content and asset distribution across access-independent networks.

  • Presence-based video communications -- The Cisco Call Session Control Platform (CSCP) enables broadband providers to offer a range of session initiation protocol (SIP)-enabled video soft clients and phones for services such as video instant messaging.

Application Convergence

At the Application Convergence Layer of the IP NGN, Linksys will play central roles in four key areas of the connected home: networked entertainment, basic networking, communication and security/monitoring. Recent developments here include the acquisition of KiSS Technology, a provider of networked entertainment devices whose product portfolio includes home video products such as networked DVD players and networked DVD recorders.

Cisco cited the following key reference customers for its video/IPTV-focused IP NGN solutions:

  • SOFTBANK BB Corporation (JAPAN)

  • Video Networks Limited (UK)

  • neuf telecom (France)

  • Telewest (UK)

  • SureWest Communications (USA)

  • China TieTong (formerly China Railcom)

See also