A. Put simply, a medianet is an intelligent network that is optimized for rich media applications. Cisco Medianet is the Cisco recommended architecture for video and collaboration deployments. Cisco Medianet technologies integrate together to deliver an end-to-end architecture that enables video applications to interact with the underlying infrastructure. This framework helps with deployment, management, troubleshooting, and improving the Quality of Experience (QoE) of video and collaboration deployments.
Q. Why do I need to consider Cisco Medianet?
A. Organizations are increasingly adopting video and collaboration technologies, which radically change the demands on the network. Providing a good quality video and collaboration experience for users can quickly become complex and costly due to the fact that organizations quite often deploy different video and collaboration applications and endpoints from different vendors, at the same time, in the same infrastructure. Following an architectural approach to video with Cisco Medianet will help you manage these challenges, simplifying, lowering the risks, cutting costs, and improving the quality of video and collaboration deployments.
Q. What are the primary solutions being delivered by Cisco Medianet?
A. The important solution areas being delivered by Cisco Medianet technologies are:
• Autoconfiguration: Facilitates the deployment of video endpoints and reduces the ongoing operational costs of managing moves, adds, and changes.
• Media Monitoring: Enhances visibility into the network. It helps accelerate troubleshooting, and assess and measure the impact of video, voice, and data applications in the network.
• Media Awareness: Helps the network to become application and rich-media context aware end to end. The network works together with the video endpoints and applications for optimal QoE for end-users and improved visibility for IT.
Q. What is the Media Services Interface (MSI)?
A. Media Services Interface (MSI) is a software component that is embedded in video endpoints and collaboration applications. The MSI software developer's kit provides a set of APIs enabling applications to use medianet network services such as Autoconfiguration and Media Monitoring.
MSI ties the network to user devices and applications to enable for a true end-to-end architecture called Cisco Medianet.
MSI-embedded endpoints and applications are more tightly integrated with the network to help the organization:
• Help reduce the costs of deploying and managing video endpoints
• Quickly troubleshoot issues and help cut operational costs
• Detect network issues while they occur for immediate remediation and improved user experience
• Enable the network to accurately apply network services to enhance user experience.
Q. What capabilities are provided by Cisco Medianet technologies?
A. The capabilities provided by Cisco Medianet technologies are:
• Automates device configuration and registration
• Simplifies deployment of video endpoints
• Helps reduce ongoing operational costs of media applications and endpoints
• Enhances visibility into traffic flows on the network
• Helps reduce operating costs with faster troubleshooting of video, voice, and data issues
• Enables precise assessment of the impact of video, voice, and data on the network
• Differentiates business-critical applications allowing the prioritization of business critical applications
• Enables the network to support service assurance and an optimal user experience
• Extracts actionable application information from the network
Media Services Interface (MSI)
• Helps reduce costs of deploying and managing video endpoints
• Allows you to quickly troubleshoot issues and helps reduce operational costs
• Detects network issues while they occur for immediate remediation
Q. What are the business benefits of Cisco Medianet?
A. Cisco Medianet technologies enable businesses to:
• Reduce operating costs: faster fault isolation and troubleshooting for video and collaboration applications; helping to avoid unnecessary bandwidth upgrades
• Protect business critical applications: identify business critical traffic end-to-end and prioritize it better; predict and detect issues before they impact the experience; simplify deployments and enhance QoE
• Move to the cloud and support mobile users: enhanced visibility tools give users peace of mind and confidence
Q. How will Cisco Medianet enhance my existing network?
A. Medianet represents the next evolution of converged IP networks. This evolution starts with the deployment of Cisco Medianet technologies on existing routers, switches, endpoints, and applications to enable new intelligent services. The Cisco Medianet framework stems from the realization that the endpoints are the place in the architecture where there is the most information about the applications. The endpoints can communicate with the network, making the network media-aware and armed with important information that can be used to make intelligent decisions. The endpoints become network aware and can request intelligent network services for example, for troubleshooting.
Q. Why is Cisco driving this evolution?
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 and collaboration from an end-to-end perspective, taking full advantage of comprehensive expertise in network platform, video systems, and customer solutions. Therefore, 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 relationship between Cisco Medianet and AVC?
A. Cisco Medianet and AVC are complementary solutions that allow customers to understand, troubleshoot and optimize application performance for business, cloud and collaboration applications, simplifying the deployment and management of these applications. AVC includes technologies in Cisco routers, switches and management solutions. Cisco Medianet also includes technologies in endpoints, collaboration infrastructure and services as well as some third party endpoints.
Q. How do Medianet and AVC work together in my network?
A. Cisco Medianet and AVC are designed to work together seamlessly. Deployment models including both are very common to achieve optimal application experience. For example, the use of Cisco Administrative Reporting Tool (ART), bandwidth and TCP round trip time together with loss, jitter, and delay can cover monitoring for a variety of applications. Another example is the use of NBAR2, which is able to identify a vast number of applications, to complement the identification of applications produced from endpoints with Media Services Interface (MSI) or from Media Services Proxy (MSP) in the routers and switches.
Q. Should my customers deploy Cisco Medianet or AVC?
A. Wrong question! There are advantages to using both. For example, a customer could use AVC's per-application QoS to ensure that voice traffic from their IP phones and chosen web conferencing get adequate bandwidth, while relegating personal or recreational media applications to the best-effort QoS class. If a problem does occur in one of the key media applications, Mediatrace can provide detailed hop-by-hop troubleshooting information.
Q. Are Cisco Medianet technologies something I buy?
A. Cisco Medianet technologies are available in a wide range of Cisco products. In many cases, just a software upgrade is needed, whereas in others, a hardware upgrade may be needed as well. Refer to the Cisco Medianet Data Sheet for a list of the supported hardware and software for Cisco Medianet capabilities.
Q. Do I need Cisco Medianet capabilities 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 Cisco Medianet-enabled devices are deployed, the initial benefit is supplemented by greater visibility and granularity. Many of the end-to-end features within the Cisco Medianet framework are designed to operate successfully even when devices that do not support medianet services are on the path of the media traffic.
Q. I use video endpoints and applications from other vendors; will I need to replace those for Cisco products to take advantage of Cisco Medianet technologies?
A. Cisco Medianet technologies are designed to work with Cisco and third-party endpoints. For example, Media Monitoring can be used to monitor and troubleshoot video, voice, and data services, and Autoconfiguration can be used to automatically configure the switch port for Cisco and third-party devices.
Q. How do I know what I need to change in my current infrastructure?
A. In order to realize the collaborative benefits of video, assess what rich media, including video, is currently running on the network and establish an action plan to support current and future video and collaboration requirements. Discuss the plans with your Cisco representative, who can guide you through a migration path. Another option is to consider using the Cisco Collaboration Assessment Service for Medianet (formerly known as the Cisco Medianet Readiness Assessment (MRA) 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 Cisco Medianet.
Q. Are there any services for assisting in planning for the Cisco Medianet Architecture?
A. We offer the Cisco Collaboration Assessment Service for Medianet (formerly known as the Cisco Medianet Readiness Assessment [MRA]) that can determine how prepared your network is for video, collaboration, and other 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.
A. Have companies benefitted from the Cisco Collaboration Assessment Service for Medianet (formerly known as the Cisco Medianet Readiness Assessment [MRA])?
A. Absolutely. Cisco has helped many companies across a variety of industries to prepare their networks for video and collaboration services with the Cisco Collaboration Assessment Service for Medianet. Refer to this case study about the benefits that a large financial services company received from this service: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/services/ps2961/ps7072/services_casestudy_financial_MRA_video.pdf. How do I manage Cisco Medianet technologies across my network?
Q. Do you have tools to help provide visibility and help with troubleshooting?