By Bill Rollender, AM PLM, Media, & CPU Technology, Intel
Everyone knows video streaming is popular, but who was expecting it to take up the lion’s share of network bandwidth? Cisco* reports mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent of total mobile data traffic for the first time in 2012 and forecast it will increase to three-fourths by 2019.1 On the Internet side, Cisco expects IP video traffic will be 79 percent of all global consumer Internet traffic in 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013.2
Service provider dilemma
As video continues to be a major consumer of network bandwidth, due to the popularity of social media and mobile devices, service providers really need to come up with more effective strategies to handle additional media traffic without breaking the bank.
“Service providers have to drive down both the capital and operating costs with video delivery—without sacrificing quality, reliability, or scale,” said Robert Courteau, Executive V.P., Communications BU, Kontron*.3
Equipment manufacturer challenge
Exploding video traffic is placing unprecedented demands on equipment manufacturers to increase workload density and throughput of media servers. In general, they need new ways to increase performance while keeping power consumption in check.
Plus, media servers must help service providers balance user demand with operational factors, such as power, bandwidth, advanced traffic control, differing standards, and quality of service. From the core of the network to its edges, service providers are demanding equipment that satisfies their needs for growth, quality delivery, and diversified services.
Optimized content delivery platform
With mobile device battery life top of mind for users, the need for efficient video transcoding in the cloud has never been greater. Working with Intel, Kontron has created the optimal solution that streams content in formats suited to mobile devices while addressing the issues of energy efficiency, scalability, and cost for service providers.
The Kontron* SYMKLOUD* platform features up to 18 Intel® Core™ i7 processors with integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000 that transcode video streams without using the CPU cycles, so there’s plenty of headroom remaining for other applications, like video analytics. It also supports OpenFlow* for software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) deployments.
According to Kontron, the Intel processor is the best-in-class solution for media optimization applications. This means smoother visual quality, spectacular HD media playback, and improved ability to decode and transcode simultaneous video streams.4
Higher throughput now available
Intel recently launched two Intel® Xeon® processors expressly designed to deliver an exceptionally large number of video transcoding channels per watt for demanding media processing applications. The Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1278L v4 and the Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1258L v4 integrate Intel® Iris™ graphics (i.e., on-processor graphics) to help minimize the CapEx and OpEx of equipment executing media applications.
Since the processor graphics is on-chip, it consumes less power than an add-in graphics card and delivers four to five times more media acceleration than software-only media processing.5
The 5th generation Intel Xeon processor E3-1278L v4 increases the number of H.264 transcoded streams from 12 to 18 for about a 50 percent improvement over 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor-based designs in the same thermal envelope.6
Transcoding Reduces Video Traffic
The growing popularity of video streaming services, such as YouTube*, Hulu*, and Netflix*, and the proliferation of 4K high-definition content concerns many service providers. But they can reduce network bandwidth requirements for video content with media servers based on Intel® architecture that enable a range of low-power, high-density, and scalable solutions.
1 Source: “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2014–2019,” February 3, 2015, http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/white_paper_c11-520862.html
2 Source: “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018,” June 10, 2014, http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html.
3 Source: “Kontron and Genband to Showcase HD Video Delivery Reference Solution for Service Provider NFV Environments,” February 25, 2015, http://www.kontron.com/about-kontron/news-events/detail/genband.
4 Source: “Kontron Launches the Symkloud MS2900 Media Platform for Clloud Trasncoding,” February 25, 2013, http://www.kontron.com/about-kontron/news-events/detail/kontron-launches-the-symkloud-ms2900-media-platform-for-cloud-transcoding.
5 Source: AnandTech, “Intel Iris Pro 5200 Graphics Review: Core i7-4950HQ Tested,” June 1, 2013, http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested/18.
6 Source: Intel testing.