Evolution of the ‘Medianet’

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Today, more than half of all IP traffic on the web is video. By 2012 that dominance is projected to grow to about 90%, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index projections.

Present IP networks are struggling to meet growing demands of rich media applications and rapidly increasing content volume; these networks are now evolving into those that are optimized to deliver this content, the medianet.

What is rich media?It’s a term used to refer to a broad range of interactive digital media that can either be downloaded or embedded into a web page. The defining characteristic is that it exhibits dynamic motion. A great example of rich media is streaming video.

Marthin Debeer, senior VP of Emerging Technologies:

The Internet of the past was really about transportation of data and acting as the information superhighway, but it’s evolving to become more of a media highway and transporting rich media, he said. With all this rich media traffic, the network will have to fundamentally change into what Cisco is calling the “medianet

A number of other key projections:

  • Global IP traffic will increase by a factor of six from 2007 to 2012, reaching 44 exabytes per month in 2012, compared to fewer than 7 exabytes per month in 2007.
  • Total IP traffic for 2012 will amount to more than half a zettabyte (or 522 exabytes). A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.
  • Monthly global IP traffic in December 2012 will be 11 exabytes higher than in December 2011, a single-year increase that will exceed the amount by which traffic increased in the eight years since 2000.
  • Video on demand (VoD), IP television (IPTV), and Internet TV will account for nearly 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2012.
  • Mobile data traffic will roughly double each year from 2008 through 2012.

Wait. How much?

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For some perspective of where we’re at today, Hulu trafficked 17 petabytes of video data in the US during October 2008, eight months after launch. This sits next to the 31 petabytes from YouTube in the United States while all commercial video sources together generated the same amount of traffic as YouTube.

Four major video systems will make use of the medianet concept:

  • TelePresence
  • Digital media (signage, desktop video, enterprise TV)
  • Physical security (video surveillance, cameras and access control)
  • Unified communications (video calling, WebEx, interoperability)

How will Medianet be different? This approach intends to build a “media-, endpoint- and network aware” system. This facilitates the formatting of data for the end device, detecting traffic conditions to ensure transmission.

Cisco’s Teleprescence begun its foray into African markets with installations made mostly in mid to late 2008.

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As is evident from above, emerging markets are forecast to remain important player in IP network development particularly as regards mobile technologies.

By the time the concept of the medianet has caught its tail wind in developed markets, Africa and other emerging markets will be there lock-step.