The Video Tsunami

I attended Cisco Live yesterday morning in Simi Valley. I was able to watch live on my 63” Samsung Plasma the live broadcast from Las Vegas. It’s better than being there live (no pun intended). A very short commute upstairs, best seat in the house and unlimited supply of coffee. Unfortunately there was no golden ticket under my seat for the Cisco party.

For some time, I have been thinking about the tsunami of data that is going to hit the Internet as video usage continues its logarithmic growth. It was interesting to see that amongst all of the talk concerning Cloud Computing, video was able to be highlighted as one of the hottest applications. As John Chambers said in his keynote presentation,“Video is the new voice.”

The highlight so far was the keynote presentation from Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer. She gave a great presentation on the cloud and how Cisco’s network is evolving to support these new applications.

Padmasree Warrior - Cisco Live Keynote

Padmasree stressed how important video is going to be as an ever increasing component of network traffic. By 2015 she stated that 70% of network traffic will be video; within the Cisco network, 25% of traffic is already video-based today. In other Cisco presentations, they pointed out that 51% of Internet traffic during 2010 was video and that by 2014 it is expected 91% of Internet traffic will be video.

Using Spirent TestCenter as a powerful network loader, Cisco was keen to demonstrate high performance capabilities with their new platforms. They were able to differentiate between video and other data streams to ensure reliable end to end video quality, while they used the Spirent TestCenter to effectively hammer the network. 

Spirent TestCenter used in Cisco Live keynote presentation

Cisco also demonstrated their ability to provide rapid self-healing in the event of network failure.  Although Cisco demonstrated that their technology works, this capability is not deployed everywhere.

Moving forward, I think enterprise networks and the Internet will face interesting challenges in maintaining good reliable video quality. This type of application is very different than the short bursty types of traffic that dominate the networks today. What is going to happen as relatively large video packets begin to increasingly dominate network traffic? This is also going to have a serious effect on mobile networks.

Cisco predicts that by 2015, two-thirds of data traffic on mobile networks will be video. A combination of Internet, Video & Cell technology should be interesting! Without doubt, testing network architectures prior to deployment will continue to be the best approach. Video will be a literally in your face problem, and if you want to maintain sticky customers, Quality of Experience will continue to be a priority. Testing and careful network turn up will be a must.

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