A. A medianet is an intelligent network optimized for rich media. It is an end-to-end architecture for a media-optimized network comprising advanced, intelligent technologies and devices in a platform optimized for the delivery of rich-media experiences.
Customers are evolving from their existing network architectures to Cisco® capabilities for medianet architecture deployments to enable them to deliver the necessary services they need to support the increasing number of rich-media applications on their enterprise networks.
Q. Why do I need a medianet?
A. Organizations are increasingly adopting new rich-media business and collaboration technologies, which radically change the demands on the network. Cisco capabilities for medianet enable businesses to achieve the full value of their business and collaboration applications by providing optimal user experience while reducing complexity and costs.
Q. What are Cisco's capabilities for medianets?
A. The architecture that Cisco uses to optimize medianets is an end-to-end architecture that incorporates both intelligent network services and rich-media endpoints. The architecture offers you a blueprint by which you can deploy a scalable IT infrastructure that will enable the delivery of critical medianet solutions. These solutions focus on maximizing the experience of the rich-media applications while reducing the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of the network to support them.
Q. What are the business benefits of medianet?
A. The main medianet benefits include:
• Reduced operating costs:
– Simplified installation and management of video endpoints
– Faster troubleshooting for voice, data, and video applications
• Better investment decisions to meet business objectives: The ability to assess impact of video, voice, and data in your network (for example, right-size your network to avoid unnecessary bandwidth upgrades)
• Service-level agreement assurance and negotiation: The ability to gather critical metrics of services provided
• Ability to differentiate business critical applications and to determine the importance of a session based on its business value so that the network is able to consistently provide service assurance and optimal user experience
Q. How will medianet help change my existing network?
A. A medianet represents the next evolution of converged IP networks. This evolution consists of adding new medianet technologies to enable new services that you can add to existing devices, including intelligent services added to routers, switches, and rich-media endpoints. The medianet technologies deliver the media-, endpoint-, and network-aware capabilities that conventional IP networks lack but are necessary to support the new bandwidth, jitter, and latency requirements of rich-media applications. The network is uniquely positioned to understand the source and destination of video streams as well as the ever-changing capacity characteristics of the connection. It can therefore apply the necessary quality of service (QoS) to support the application experience and operational tools to enable sustainable operations.
Q. Is it a hardware or software upgrade?
A. Cisco capabilities for medianets are available in a wide range of Cisco products. In many cases, you need just a software upgrade, whereas in others you might need a hardware upgrade as well. Refer to the medianet data sheet for a list of the supported harware and software for medianet capabilities.
Q. Do I need medianet enabled in every node?
A. No. Upgrading your equipment in trouble spots or high-usage areas of your network will allow you to realize many of the benefits immediately. As more locations are upgraded and more medianet-enabled devices are deployed, the initial benefit is supplemented by greater visibility and granularity. Many of the end-to-end features within medianet are designed to operate successfully even when devices that do not support medianet services are on the path of the media traffic.
Q. How do I know what I need to change in my current infrastructure?
A. In order to realize the collaborative benefits of video, you should assess what rich media, including video, is currently running on your network and establish an action plan to support current and future rich-media requirements. Dicsuss your plans with your Cisco representative, who can guide you through a migration path. Another option is to consider using the Medianet Readiness Assessment Service because it can help you understand the effect of each application on the network infrastructure and provide guidance on how to proceed to migrate to a medianet.
Q. Are there any services for assisting in planning for medianet architecture?
A. We offer a Cisco Medianet Readiness Assessment Service (MRA) that can determine how prepared your network is for rich-media applications. The service can also help you define your business goals (such as the desired end-user experience) and technical requirements (such as the effect of video solutions on the overall network), and make recommendations to help ensure a smooth deployment.
Q. I use video endpoints and applications from other vendors; will I need to replace those for Cisco products to take advantage of medianet?
A. Medianet is designed to work with Cisco and third-party endpoints. For example, you can use media monitoring to monitor and troubleshoot any video, voice, and data services, and you can use autoconfiguration to automatically configure the switch port for Cisco and third-party devices.
Q. How do I manage a medianet? Do you have tools to help me assess the visibility and help me troubleshoot rich-media applications?
A. This evolution of traditional IP networks to medianets consists of medianet technologies embedded into network elements and endpoints, as discussed previously. Refer to the medianet data sheet for a list of the supported harware and software for medianet capabilities.
Q. Why is Cisco leading this evolution on networks?
A. Cisco is uniquely positioned to tightly integrate Cisco rich-media applications and the intelligent network services that can optimize their performance and address video from an end-to-end perspective, taking full advantage of comprehensive expertise in network platform, video systems, and customer solutions. Therefore, only Cisco can deliver an end-to-end solution that maximizes both the quality of experience (QoE) for the video user and return on investment (ROI) for the business.
Q. What is the Media Services Interface (MSI)?
A. The Media Services Interface (MSI) is a software development kit that Cisco rich-media applications such as the Cisco WebEx Meeting Client, Cisco Jabber for Windows, the Cisco Video Surveillance 4500 IP Camera, and the Digital Media Player 4310 use. The MSI is a critical component of the medianet architecture because it enables applications to take advantage of the intelligent medianet services in the network easily, consistently, and efficiently.
Q. Can third-party applications use the MSI?
A. Currently the MSI is being integrated into Cisco rich-media applications, but it will be made available to other application vendors at some point in the future. Even though third-party applications do not support the MSI network, administrators can still take advantage of medianet services to manage and operate medianets that support these applications.
Q. What primary solutions are being delivered in Medianet?
A. The important solution areas being delivered in medianet are:
• Autoconfiguration: Providing simplified and ready-to-use deployment of rich-media endpoints such as IP surveillance cameras and digital media players.
• Media monitoring: Providing a suite of tools to enable capacity planning, performance monitoring, and dynamic troubleshooting to lower the network TCO.
• Media Awareness: Providing the ability to differentiate applications to enable end-to-end service assurance and optimal user experience.
Q. I do not see the Mediatrace or performance monitoring or flow metadata commands on the router (or) switch that we are using although they support Medianet. Why?
A. Please check to see if you have the right IOS software release on these platforms and you have the right licensing applied. Please refer the Medianet data sheet to verify.