Collaboration Media Network Readiness Assessment (Video/Webex)
Cisco's Media Network Readiness Assessment can help you understand the required changes to support enhanced video to your collaboration platform
Collaboration Media Network Readiness Assessment (Video/Webex)
How reliable is your network?
What you need to know
What is a Network Readiness Assessment?
A Network Readiness Assessment provides a detailed analysis of your foundational network (critical Layers 1 through 3). It addresses network reliability requirements and validates your network’s capacity to deliver desired business outcomes.
Figure 1: Network readiness as a foundation
The goal is to ensure the well-being of your underlying network infrastructure so it is poised to support your video (Telepresence) or Webex Meetings initiatives, in spite of increased user expansion, application usage, and traffic demands.
- Identify root problems, gaps, and unforeseen risks in your network environment that could impair performance and frustrate end users
- Prevent costly corrective network maintenance, troubleshooting, and downtime
- Ensure smooth deployments and allow you to properly scale your users and technology without worry
What to expect
- High-level technical details
- Sample report
Figure 2: Process Summary
Process summary (4 - 8 weeks)
Depending on the size of the engagement (small, medium, or large), common Network Readiness Assessments are rolled out differently:
- Large: Includes an assessment of approximately ten sites (two data centers and approximately eight remote sites)
- Medium: Includes an assessment of approximately seven sites (two data centers and approximately five remote sites)
- Small: Includes an assessment of approximately five sites (two data centers and approximately three remote sites)
- Lite: Includes an assessment of approximately three sites (two data centers and approximately one remote site)
Common stakeholders (customer network architecture, collaboration, and customer experience teams) should contribute about 40 percent of their time toward network discovery and conducting tests.
High-level technical details
Employees should contribute roughly 40% of their time for network discovery and test conducting
As part of the readiness assessment, five major areas of compliance, along with other critical network parameters, are studied, documented, and reported on with a 360-degree view. Further requirements will also be taken into consideration, which would lead to additional sections, if necessary.
Table 1: Cisco Network Readiness Assessment service report details
Table 2: Summary legend
Figure 3: Sample Report - Media Network Readiness Assessment
Following is a sample Network Readiness Assessment summary for a fictional company, ACME, which is testing its network's capacity and reliability to support new video (Medianet) collaboration tools.
The top section provides a snapshot summary and the bottom goes into further details and recommendations before deployment.
Click on Figure 3 to the right to view the Sample Report
When you should consider a Readiness Assessment
When should I get a Collaboration Network Readiness Assessment?
Figure 4 Media Network Readiness Assessment timing
Investing in a readiness assessment can seem like a futile task, especially if you're monitoring it every day. However, the truth is that network support and capacity thresholds are often broken from incremental requirement burdens the network has to shoulder. This means teams would perform corrective maintenance on its network, which ultimately cost more in the end and likely create longer network downtime than if preventative maintenance were performed beforehand. Other popular times to invest are outlined in Figure 4.
"Results show that preventative maintenance represents roughly 10 to 30 percent of total maintenance costs as compared to corrective maintenance."
Kumar, Uday et al. "Preventive and corrective maintenance – cost comparison and cost–benefit analysis." Structure and Infrastructure Engineering Journal: Maintenance, Management, Life-Cycle Design and Performance. Volume 12, Issue 5. 2016.
Can't I do this myself?
- What's in it for me?
1. I monitor my network everyday, why would I need this?
Customer assumptions often lie in the belief that since they have configured the network themselves, they can assess it properly. However, at times teams overlook crucial details across an end-to-end network that need to be addressed from a video perspective.
Certain specializations should be required from those who perform the assessment. Example Cisco specializations include:
Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization
Master Unified Communications Specialization
Advanced Unified Communications Specialization
If you don’t have one or more of these specializations, there is a strong possibility that important elements will be bypassed and your personal assessment will have inaccurate results.
2. Why wouldn't I just go to a competitor, where it costs less and I don't even have to worry about this?
We stay with our customers to provide full, end-to-end services and to help them find the gaps in their network that could render catastrophic costs if left unaddressed. We'll even help remediate your network if problems are left unaddressed. All of our services, from designing and testing to optimization, will be done under one umbrella, giving you the comfort and convenience you deserve.
Furthermore, our expertise in doing assessments for over 15 years, specifically within the collaboration space, has been an essential factor for most of our customers, who want to ensure that they can implement new video and web conferencing collaboration deployments without risk. The recommendations and best practices we give to customers stem from those 15 years of experience and are proven to guide you to success.
3. Cisco is more expensive. Won't I pay more in the long run?
Cisco is very competitive in pricing and backs it up with our custom tools that have been built to help our customers navigate through both the complexity and ambiguity that often comes with ensuring their network is ready for video and web conferencing deployment. We take pride in the fact that we've helped many of our customers prepare for unforeseen risks and hidden gaps that would have normally gone unnoticed.
Whatever your challenges are ahead, we can help you overcome them. Learn how today.
Depending on what your motivations are, a readiness assessment service can help you:
- Scale your video or Webex Meetings deployment faster, saving you time, energy, and money
- Optimize your network further to ensure it is fully redundant and robust, and able to support mission-critical services
- Proactively assess your network's health and see issues before they arrive
- Stay focused on more important tasks that demand your full attention
- Realize higher network availability and uptime
- Capitalize on best practices to use for the future, helping to ensure your network's long-term health and success
Don't believe us? Check out one of our customer examples on the next page.
Industry: Manufacturing (Healthcare)
Collaboration Technology: Webex Video Conferencing
Recently, a global manufacturer of medical devices and software deployed a large Cisco Collaboration Meeting Room solution to improve communication and productivity among its employees. Initially, the company enlisted the help of a partner to implement the solution in order to save costs, but soon its workforce began complaining about poor video quality in their meetings.
This forced the IT staff to rethink what went wrong. Yet, when they took an initial look at the network to identify the root causes of the poor video quality, they found no problematic issues. Instead, they found:
- The network was highly redundant and contained no known issues
- IP routing was in good shape
- Network devices met all software and hardware requirements
At this point, they engaged Cisco Customer Experience to help them assess their situation and develop a strategy to get the video conferencing software to work as planned.
The customer expected Cisco to perform the network validation; however the Media Network Readiness Assessment (MNRA) couldn't be performed as the majority of devices were built by third parties. Quickly identifying another route, the Cisco Customer Experience team proposed a Network Path Assessment in order to validate the video path for possible packet drops and network issues.
Cisco Customer Experience worked closely with the customer to understand its hop-by-hop network topology and the specific path traversed for video calling and web conferencing. It then created a network path based on its findings.
Using Cisco best practices, the team first examined the customer network's QoS settings, as it is primarily the underlying driver of both voice and video quality issues. In fact, it is the application's nature to be sensitive to packet loss, so if items aren't marked properly they'll be put in the same queue as data and will be delayed.
Through its analysis, the Cisco Customer Experience team identified that the customer's network topology was created incorrectly and that it was deviating from the validated design. Multiple packet drops were indeed occurring—both at the core and the edge—due to network configuration issues. For this reason and a few other minor ones, the customer's initial assumption of traffic flow was different from the actual flow.
Finally, in recommending further action, the team provided the customer with a list of Cisco best practices, helping to summarize the necessary changes that the customer should make.
Although a Network Path Assessment (part of the Collaboration Network Readiness Assessment service) aided the company in identifying the sole critical issue that was causing video quality issues, it wasn't the first option to accept. Yet, because the customer had third-party collaboration devices, it chose not to conduct a proper MNRA and ended up in reactive troubleshooting mode. An MNRA would have identified the gaps in the network, along with recommendations for specific design improvements that would have aided in preventing future problems.
Using a proprietary tool customized for the MNRA service, Cisco can simulate actual traffic (even before deployment) to provide customers with a view of the network in terms of latency, packet drops, jitter, and QoS deployment. This, in and of itself, has been one of the most influential tools in helping to quickly assess a customer's situation and identify areas for improvement.
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