Cisco steps into wireless video
The VideoStream technology will make Cisco’s WLAN solutions media-ready and enable high-definition video to be scaled through Wi-Fi networks. This includes a set of features to provide improved resource control, support for scalable multicasting and prioritization of different types of video stream, which will allow customers to define what videos should have reserved resources across the networks.
In this way a CEO’s corporate message, for example, can be given priority over training videos. This is nice to have, but is still just that. However, the potential is broad and we expect video collaboration and related traffic contention to play its role in mobility at some stage.
Cisco’s media-ready WLAN strategy is based on three pillars: bandwidth, scale and quality. The new VideoStream technology will ensure Wi-Fi networks are scalable and will provide quality of service to support end-to-end high-definition video. Meanwhile, its 802.11n solution is well timed as it provides the higher bandwidth required.
The 802.11n standard requires more power than the 802.11g. This, combined with the high processing capacity required for HD video, will increase the strain on the batteries of dual-mode smartphones, which are already struggling to cope with existing Wi-Fi requirements. As a result, most early applications will be based on laptops, cordless desk phones and video signage, rather than on handsets.
In general, mobile video hasn't taken off. Video consumption on mobiles over 3G networks is considerably lower than initially envisaged, and we don’t yet see enough compelling benefits of video for dual-mode phone users at enterprises to change the story for Wi-Fi networks. In addition, to take video beyond the enterprise Cisco will need to integrate this with its FMC solutions and rely more on its telco partners.
Mobile video is likely to be restricted to more niche applications, such as applications for education and training. Current examples include the provision of visual translation of lectures for deaf students, but we are convinced that a few more will follow.