Cisco to bolster video portfolio

Cisco to tout its new Content Delivery System (CDS) at ITU

Cisco this week is expected to unveil a series of new and enhanced products designed to let carriers deliver application- and subscriber-aware video services.

The announcements are slated for this week's ITU Telecom World conference in Hong Kong.

Among the new products are the Cisco Content Delivery System (CDS), which is a network of appliances Cisco calls Content Delivery Engines (CDE) that collect, store, distribute, personalize and stream content.

CDEs form a virtual platform on which a variety of so-called Content Delivery Applications can be deployed. The CDS expedites content delivery - personalized entertainment, interactive media and targeted advertising - to subscribers' televisions, and to PCs, mobile handsets and other multimedia-capable devices.

The CDS is installed at Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, and is in trials with a number of wireline providers around the world, Cisco says.

Among the enhanced products are Cisco's 7600 series router, which now supports Cisco's Intelligent Services Gateway, which provides policy control, service control and subscriber management. Further enhancements include integration of video/voice Session Border Control for IP Multimedia Subsystem and non-IMS applications.

A future enhancement to the 7600 router is a capability Cisco calls Visual Quality Experience (VQE), which will improve the quality of video service and viewing experiences by enabling network-based, rapid channel-change and video error repair.

VQE supports such industry standards as Real-time Transport Control Protocol and Real-time Transport Protocol to help providers detect and repair packet loss on degraded lines. VQE initially will ship as an appliance but will be integrated into the 7600 series routers soon, Cisco says.

The 6-year-old 7600 router, considered by some observers to be long in the tooth, continues to be Cisco's workhorse platform for Ethernet-based edge applications, such as video, for businesses and consumers.

"We have a platform that is very strong on Ethernet, and we're increasingly adding capabilities to it that are higher-level services," says Mike Volpi, senior vice president of Cisco's Router and Service Provider Technology group. "The 7600 road map is very rich in those broad ranges of new services."

"The 7600 we sell today bears no resemblance to the one we sold six years ago," Volpi adds. Sales of the 7600 grew in excess of 40 percent over the past year, he says.

Services enabled by these new and enhanced products will be delivered to residential and business customers via Cisco's Scientific-Atlanta set-top boxes. Cisco acquired Scientific-Atlanta a year ago for US$6.9 billion.

Cisco also is expected to announce this week that Scientific-Atlanta has shipped more than 30 million set-top boxes and more than 6 million digital video recorders.

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