Cisco to video-optimize networks

MXE 3000 designed to simplify media sharing across enterprise nets

Cisco this week is expected to unveil the first in a series of enterprise products designed to intelligently process video traffic in a network.

The Media Experience Engine 3000 (MXE 3000) is a processing platform that sits between an enterprise switch and router and is designed to simplify media sharing across the network by optimizing its delivery in any format for any device. It provides media conversion, real-time post production, editing, formatting, and network distribution for businesses developing targeted visual communications, Cisco says.

Video is fast becoming the killer application for networks, according to Cisco and others in the industry. IP traffic will increase sixfold globally between 2007 and 2012 -- a 46 percent compound annual growth rate -- due largely to business and consumer adoption of video, Cisco says, citing its own internal research.

Half a zettabyte -- which equates to 522 billion gigabytes -- will cross the global network by 2012, Cisco says.

"Video is at a tipping point," says Henry Dewing, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "It is a potential tsunami of traffic that could drown a lot of LAN and WAN infrastructures."

To help smooth the delivery of video amidst all that traffic, Cisco is rolling out the MXE 3000. The product delivers the ability to transcode a single source of content so that it is playable on any device, such as an IPTV, digital sign, PC or mobile device, Cisco says.

It also delivers real-time post production and processing capabilities such as watermarking, voice and video editing, text and image overlays and noise reduction to create broadcast quality video experiences, the company says.

"The MXE allows you to dynamically adjust resolution and codec, a key tool to enable the optimal utilization of the bandwidth available for this new traffic type," Forrester's Dewing says

He adds that the MXE 3000, with "near wire-speed" performance, should not introduce any bottlenecks into the video-optimized network just by being another processing element in that network.

"IT operations managers are saying, 'I've got this video stuff crossing my network, clogging things up. How do I stop it?'" Dewing says. "They don't need to find a way to turn it off; they need to find a way to support it effectively. MXE is a tool to help them manage that."

The MXE 3000 is the first in a new line of products and technologies designed to enable enterprise users to build what Cisco calls "medianets" -- networks optimized for video with intelligent processing. Cisco's business video strategy is to help enterprises implement video solutions that create visual networking experiences across multiple devices through faster delivery of content and simplified media sharing across the network.

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Jim Duffy

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