Light Reading has completed a groundbreaking test that verifies Cisco Systems Inc.'s end-to-end IPTV solution for scaleability, resilience, and quality of service. Light Reading is an operating unit of CMP Technology.
The test, conducted by the European Advanced Networking Test Center, also indicated that standard techniques alone won't get the job
done, as Cisco demonstrated some proprietary features that would appear crucial for preserving video quality in a real-world deployment.
The full test report can be found online, for free, at: http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=126173
EANTC routinely runs "proof-of-concept" tests for service providers, but this was the center's first IPTV network test on this scale. "The sheer
scale of the test was an interesting challenge for the whole team," said Carsten Rossenhovel, Managing Director of EANTC. "IPTV and triple play
testing requires a wide scope and interdisciplinary know-how."
To start the test, EANTC asked Cisco to design a core and aggregation network suitable for 1 million customers. EANTC and Cisco then built a
portion of the network, serving 60,000 imaginary customers with traffic emulated on Spirent Communications equipment. The test network included
Cisco's CRS-1 core router and its 7600 series edge routers.
Test cases included many of the situations that would concern service providers, such as whether a spike in Internet traffic would affect IPTV
video feeds. In every test case run by EANTC, Cisco passed.
The testing also included features proprietary to Cisco, which could be vital to preserving the quality of video in a large-scale IPTV deployment. EANTC found that proprietary features may be necessary to build scaleable IPTV networks. For example, with Cisco's Call Admission Control, the network can check beforehand to see if bandwidth is available for a user's video-on- demand request. And Cisco's Video Quality Experience software enables a set-top box to request missing video frames without interrupting the video feed.
"What we found is that service providers today cannot run IPTV services'out of the box,'" Rossenhovel writes in the test report. "In order to
successfully implement and make money from these services, they must partner with a vendor that will do extra and sophisticated network design
work, and that can supply additional technology to prevent network over-subscription and other problems."