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Cisco Voice and Video Conferencing for ISR Routers

Video Conferencing Services on Cisco Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2)

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Product Overview

Cisco ® Unified Communications Solutions enable organizations to more quickly adapt to market changes, increase employee productivity, and improve competitive advantage. The ad-hoc and meet-me video conference features introduced in Cisco IOS ® Software Release 15.1(4)M enhance the existing Cisco Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2) audio conferencing capabilities by adding support for a variety of video endpoints. Small-to-medium businesses and enterprise branch offices can meet their video telephony and conferencing needs in a single platform by using the onboard digital-signal-processor (DSP) resources ( Packet Voice Video Digital Signal Processor Module [PVDM3]) combined with Cisco IOS Software to facilitate local ad-hoc or meet-me video conference calls. By converging video along with rich-media applications, voice, medianet, data, wireless, WAN optimization, and security into a single platform, Cisco ISR G2 routers streamline operations and lower network costs while increasing productivity.

Integrated Voice, Video, and Medianet Features in One Router

The Cisco ISR G2 provides the performance and features required for a full set of unified communications features. The Cisco ISR G2 extends the long-supported audio conferencing capability to include a broad portfolio of video endpoints for video conferencing to meet business communication needs. Video conferencing services and rich media applications on the ISR G2 are natively delivered through Cisco IOS software and DSP modules. Video and voice services co-reside on the same PVDM3 module, providing great system flexibility. The Cisco ISR G2 acts as a multipoint video control bridge for ad-hoc and meet-me video conferences with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) or Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (UCME) as call agents. In addition, the Cisco ISR G2 is a critical component of the end-to-end medianet architecture, a network comprising advanced, intelligent technologies, devices, and platforms optimized for the delivery of rich-media experiences.

Flexible Resource Control and Management for Optimal Branch-Office Video Experience

The integrated video conferencing services use the same DSP resources on PVDM3s that are used for widely deployed ISR G2 voice capabilities. These modules, in conjunction with Cisco IOS Software, perform audio and video mixing, video transcoding for certain resolutions, and other functions for video endpoints. PVDM3 modules support flexible media resources and conference profile management to maximize capacity with predictable end-user experiences. Both homogenous and heterogonous video conferences are supported. A homogenous conference refers to one in which participants connect to the ISR G2 with devices that support the same video format attributes (for example, the same codec, resolution, frame rate, and bit rate). A heterogeneous conference refers to one in which participants can connect to a conference bridge with devices that support different video format attributes. Each conference allows 4-, 8-, or 16-party participants. The homogenous conference sessions supported on the Cisco ISR G2 routers are highly scalable. The session density drops for heterogeneous conferences. In addition, flexible conference profile configurations are available to users under different deployment scenarios. A guaranteed conference profile reserves all the required resources based on the maximum number of endpoints in the branch office as configured in Cisco IOS Software. A best-effort conference profile guarantees audio for all endpoints but delivers video on a first-come, first-served base depending on the DSP resource availability.

Key Benefits

Optimizes Branch-Office Video Experience by Reducing WAN Bandwidth

Cisco ISR G2 integrated video conference services reduce WAN burden by keeping most video traffic local to the branch office if endpoints in a conference reside within the branch office. This setup in turn defers costly WAN bandwidth upgrades and controls bandwidth costs without sacrificing the availability and performance of other business critical applications.

Effective Integration of Video Communications for Branch Offices

The Cisco ISR G2 delivers a new borderless workspace experience through service virtualization, video and medianet capabilities, and operational excellence. The video conferencing services provide an example of how the ISR G2 can be used to provide the same quality of experience for branch-office users as enjoyed by those in a larger regional or headquarters site. Management tools such as Cisco Configuration Professional help ease video conferencing bridge setup and configuration tasks. Performance monitoring and media tracing capabilities are examples of network services provided by the medianet architecture and supported on the ISR G2. The integration of intelligent rich-media applications and intelligent network services provides optimal use of branch-office resources for business.
Like many other services on ISR G2 routers, the video conferencing services lower total cost of ownership for customers while minimizing operational costs and deployment complexity. Being a Cisco IOS Software integrated solution, the service reduces the costs of complete equipment upgrades because customers who already have ISR G2 routers and PVDM3 modules can enable the feature with an upgraded Cisco IOS Software and feature license.
Table 1 gives technical specifications of the Cisco ISR G2 router Video Conferencing Services and Table 2 gives supported conference types with the PVDM3.

Table 1. Technical Specifications

Feature

Description

Supported Cisco IOS Software release

15.1(4)M

Cisco Call Agents

Cisco UCM 8.6 or Cisco UCME 8.6

Call-agent protocols

Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and H.323

Video codecs and resolution

H.263: QCIF and CIF

H.264: QCIF, QSIF, CIF, SIF, 4CIF, 4SIF, VGA, W360p, W448p, and HD 720p

Frame rates

15 or 30 frames per second

Standard-definition (SD) video support

Encoding and decoding support for SD codecs

Up to 4CIF video transcoding

High-definition (HD) video support

HD up to 720p 30 fps for video switching

No HD Transcoding supported

Audio codecs

G.711, G.722, G.729a, G.729ab, G.729b, Internet Low Bitrate Codec (iLBC)

Conference features

• Loudest speaker switching; lecture mode (with Cisco UCME only)
• Configurable media resource reservation modes such as guaranteed and best effort

Management

• Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and MIBs: CISCO-VIDEO-SESSION-MIB and all other existing voice MIBs such as CISCO-VOICE-DIAL-CONTROL-MIB; future may support additional media MIB for video-quality call scoring
• Cisco Configuration Professional tool (planned for CCP version 2.6)
• Syslog
• Cisco IOS Command-Line Interface
• In-session debugging and troubleshooting

Table 2. Supported Conference Types with PVDM3 Part Numbers

Video Conference Feature

PVDM3-16

PVDM3-32

PVDM3-64

PVDM3-128

PVDM3-192

PVDM3-256

Video switching

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Video transcoding

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

All the PVDM3 types (that is, PVDM3-16, PVDM3-32, PVDM3-64, PVDM3-128, PVDM3-192, and PVDM3-256) support switched-only video conferences. Only PVDM3-128 and higher modules support video conferencing with transcoding and transrating.

Capacity Examples

Please refer to the Q&A (link) for more capacity examples. You can use the Cisco DSP Calculator to obtain the PVDM3 resource requirements on each Cisco ISR G2 platform for specific use cases.

Homogeneous Conferences

Table 3 lists the number of participants supported per PVDM3 type.

Table 3. Number of Participants Supported per PVDM3 for Switched Video Conferences with No Transcoding

PVDM3

PVDM3-16

PVDM3-32

PVDM3-64

PVDM3-128

PVDM3-192

PVDM3-256

Total number of conference participants*

6

12

24

48

72

96

*The participants can be either video- or audio-only participants.
Note that a video conference can be 4-, 8-, or 16-party conferences per Cisco IOS CLI configuration.
Table 4 gives two platform examples of the maximum number of supported participants. You can use the Cisco DSP Calculator to obtain the exact information for other Cisco ISR G2 platforms.

Table 4. Number of Participants Supported for Switched Video Conferences with No Transcoding

 

PVDM3-16

PVDM3-32

PVDM3-64

PVDM3-128

PVDM3-192

PVDM3-256

Cisco 2911 (2 PVDM slots)

12

24

48

86**

86**

86**

Cisco 3945E (3 PVDM slots)

18

36

72

144

216

288

** Maximum number of supported participants is limited by the platform itself rather than the maximum capacity of the PVDM3.

Heterogeneous Conferences

In some conferences, the participants have different video capabilities. Video transcoding or transrating operations are likely needed to bridge these endpoints into one conference. Tables 5 and Table 6 list some examples of platform density for a given PVDM3 type when a video transcoding operation is needed for endpoints that have different resolutions.

Table 5. Number of Video Conferences Supported on a Cisco ISR 2911 (H.264, VGA, and H.264 CIF endpoints present in one conference)

 

2 X PVDM3-128

2 X PVDM3-192

2 X PVDM3-256

Cisco 2911 (2 onboard PVDM slots fully populated)

Two 4-, 8-, or 16-party conferences

Four 4- or 8-party or Three 16-party conferences

Five 4-Party conference and Four 8-, or 16-party conferences

Table 6. Number of Video Conferences Supported on a Cisco ISR 3945 (H.264 4CIF and H.264 w360p endpoints in a conference)

 

4 X PVDM3-128

4 X PVDM3-192

4 X PVDM3-256

Cisco 3945 (4 onboard PVDM slots fully populated))

Two 4-, 8-, or 16-party conference

Four 4- or 8-party or Three 16-party conferences

Five 4-Party conference and Four 8-, or 16-party conferences

How to Order

To place an order, contact your Cisco reseller partner or visit the Cisco.com ordering homepage and refer to Table 7. To download software, visit the Cisco Software Center.

Table 7. Components to Run Video Conference and Transcoding Services on Cisco ISR G2

Component

Description

Cisco Integrated Services Router

All of the Cisco 2900 Series routers and all of the Cisco 3900 Series routers. UC images are required

Packet Voice Video Digital Signaling Processor Module (PVDM3)

Digital signal processor module for Cisco Integrated Services Routers that is used for hardware-based conferencing, analog and public-switched-telephone-network (PSTN) connectivity, and transcoding between different voice and video codecs