ITU TELECOM WORLD - HONG KONG, China - December 4, 2006 - Cisco® today extended the video delivery capabilities of its Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture with the introduction of Visual Quality Experience (VQE) technology, designed to improve the quality of wireline IPTV services and subscribers' viewing experiences. VQE enables network-based rapid channel-change and video error repair, two significant challenges in the development and delivery of wireline IPTV services.
"A seamless channel-change experience is a key factor in an IPTV subscriber's viewing satisfaction," said Stefano Nocentini, vice president of innovated engineering and services technology, Telecom Italia. "A one-to-two-second delay is unacceptable to anyone who is channel surfing and would be a significant barrier to adoption for many. Cisco's rapid channel-change technology uses industry standard protocols to cost effectively deliver this capability and provide a better video experience."
Based on industry standards, including Real-time Transport Control Protocol (RTCP) and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP), VQE enables providers to prepare networks for the delivery of advanced video services such as IPTV by detecting and repairing packet loss on degraded lines. It further enables network-based rapid channel-change to enhance the viewing experience for IPTV subscribers. VQE will initially ship as an appliance and will soon be integrated into Cisco 7600 Series Routers.
Working in conjunction with set-top boxes to detect and accelerate channel-change requests, the Cisco VQE rapid channel-change technology reduces channel-change times from several seconds to less than one second by initiating video streams less than 100 milliseconds after a request is made. The result is transparent to the viewer, who sees an uninterrupted channel-change followed by successive video motion.
Providers using Cisco VQE can also detect video packet transmission errors resulting from copper line degradations and initiate corrective actions. With this technology, a set-top box that detects packet loss may request a retransmission while holding the video sequence in queue. The network automatically repairs the error by transmitting the missing packet, which is re-sequenced by the set-top box without interruption. The entire error-repair cycle takes less than 100-milliseconds to complete, and is imperceptible to the viewer.
"By offering a way to proactively overcome systemic network issues with detection and repair of packet loss, VQE helps reduce maintenance costs and ensure quality of experience for video service subscribers," said Eve Griliches, research manager, IDC.
The ongoing error reporting in the Cisco VQE enables providers to troubleshoot entire service areas. By proactively diagnosing problems that threaten successful IPTV service delivery and implementing error repair via the network, providers help increase service acceptance, reduce customer complaints, avoid costly on-site repairs and reduce subscriber service cancellation.
"Users who have grown up in the Internet era have a very high expectation of new generation video services," said Mike Volpi, senior vice president of the router and service provider technology group at Cisco. "IPTV and digital video promise advanced features like extended personalized content offerings, multiple camera angles and interactive Web links that will completely change the viewing experience. But viewers also expect the basics, such as high picture quality and rapid channel-change. By integrating these innovations into the network infrastructure, Cisco offers providers an efficient and cost-effective way to address viewers' baseline expectations while delivering the technical advances that will truly differentiate their viewing experiences."
Cisco VQE is the latest in a series of Cisco innovations that improve the quality of video service and viewing experiences. Others include the following:
- Video Connection Admission Control - This helps ensure a high-quality viewing experience even when demand for video results in network oversubscription, a scenario that will become increasingly common as IPTV systems are more broadly deployed and subscriber numbers increase.
- Video Quality Monitoring Module - The Cisco Network Analysis Module monitors video streams in real-time and sends proactive alerts to providers if picture quality degrades, enabling them to determine the cause of the degradation and correct it before subscribers lodge complaints.
- Fault Detection - Cisco 7600 Series Routers support standards based IEEE 802.1ag and IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet Operations, Administration Maintenance (OAM) standards.
- IP/MPLS Resiliency - IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching provides added support for ISSU and nonstop forwarding with stateful switchover (NSF/SSO) and ensures availability even if the control plane fails. Cisco 7600 Series Routers also offer MPLS link protection and pseudowire redundancy for Layer 2 failover.
For more information about how Cisco is enabling providers and their customers to benefit from the shift to "Video 2.0", please visit the Cisco Website: http://www.cisco.com/go/ipngn7.