Video services

Juniper Routers Gain Video Powers

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is set to demonstrate a video-monitoring application at the Cable Show this week, showing the world that its year-old program for third-party applications is alive and well.

The application, StreamScope eRM, was created by Triveni Digital Inc. and appears to be the first publicly announced fruit of the Partner Solution Development Platform (PSDP) Juniper announced in December 2007. (See Juniper Monitors Video.)

Juniper handpicks partners for that program, giving them access to JunOS code so they can write their own applications to run on Juniper's routers. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is doing something similar with its ISR line. (See Juniper Opens Up to Apps Developers and Cisco Opens the ISR.)

Besides Triveni, announced PSDP participants include Aricent Inc. , Avaya Inc. , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), and NTT Group (NYSE: NTT). (See Juniper Adds IP Partners and NTT Joins Juniper.)

Triveni had signed on to the PSDP in October, saying it intended to do pretty much what's getting announced today. (See Triveni Joins Juniper.)

Video monitoring is already handled by probes placed throughout a network, including Triveni's own StreamScope appliance -- but Juniper wants to curb the "throughout" part.

In the case of a cable network, specifically, Juniper's routers occupy a middle stage between the video network (where the video originates) and the cable infrastructure (which delivers it to the home). Juniper's thinking is what you'd expect from a router vendor: Rather than put probes throughout the video network, why not centralize them at the edge routers? You'd need fewer probes that way.

More importantly, Juniper says its routers can use StreamScope information to perform functions that individual probes can't. For instance, once a video stream shows signs of going awry, the router could switch to a backup source before any problems become visible on viewers' screens. It can also alert operators that something's wrong.

"You can accomplish that with probes if you're willing to recruit folks to write code to update your OSS" and change it every time there's a change in the network, such as a new vendor's equipment being installed, says Tom DiMicelli, a Juniper product marketing manager.

Another reason to centralize video monitoring, according to Juniper, is the complexity of an IP-based video feed. The stream consists of MPEG Video frames inserted into IP packets, and it's not always obvious which layer is responsible for a particular problem, DiMicelli says.

StreamScope eRM runs on dedicated cards in the M or MX. The application doesn't slow down packet flow, because it operates on a copy of the video stream. So, the real data passes through the router as it normally would, while StreamScope eRM runs separately, looking for problems.

StreamScope eRM is expected to ship sometime after June.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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