Monitoring Video Performance with NetFlow

Michael Patterson : Advanced NetFlow Traffic Analysis
Michael Patterson
Founder and Product manager for Plixer's Scrutinizer NetFlow and sFlow Analyzer as well as Flow Analytics.

Monitoring Video Performance with NetFlow

Three years ago I was listening to John Chambers - CEO of Cisco Systems, proclaim that video was going to be the rage. I snickered and though it would be long time before anyone will be monitoring video performance with NetFlow. Well, here we are and John Chambers was right. My daughter is the one that made me realize why video vs. only voice will continue to grow.

Reporting on Skype with NetFlow
During a Skype connection with my daughter who was in my wife's car, my daughter wanted to show me her sneakers and then her book:

Video Conference call with Daughter

I noticed a big difference from when we just talked over the telephone.  Seeing my face made her realize that I was fully engaged in what she had to say.  She then put her jacket and shoes on and took the mobile phone outside to show me the fort she had built using scraps of wood.  I couldn't believe it. She moved the camera in close for me to see things. She then brought be inside and put the phone in front of the dog so that I could say hello to 'Charlie'.

I have to admit, I liked the video especially since I was in London, England and my daughter was in Maine. What I didn't like was the jitter.  I'm glad there are tools in our NetFlow traffic analyzer called Scrutinizer to monitor this.

Three years later at Cisco Live 2012 in London I was listening to Chief Cisco Futurist David Evans about the future of networking. I learned that video and data in general over the internet will continue to explode.  This time I BELIEVE!

Cisco Performance Monitoring
Plixer was the first Cisco NetFlow Partner to become certified for Cisco Medianet Performance monitoring reports. Check out the VoIP jitter or lost packets in the network monitoring report below. 

Monitor Video Traffic With NetFlow

The above is VoIP with our Asterisk server.  Skype traffic uses both TCP and UDP. We can measure the TCP latency during the connection setup with NetFlow Performance monitoring to look at Skype traffic as well. Today, customers can monitor cloud services with NetFlow. The example report below is filtering for the Cisco NBAR detected application: Skype.

latency On Nbar Applications

Next Generation NetFlow
Keep in mind that these reports require the use of Flexible NetFlow which doesn't use the command ip route-cache flow. Make sure you are running IOS 15.2(2)T or more recent for the most capable Flexible NetFlow exports. The latest version provides even more network latency details than what is displayed above. I'm talking about Cisco IP SLA. 

Performance Routing NetFlow
Cisco Performance Routing (PfR) can export IP SLA details using Flexible NetFlow. When a router determines that a connection is a bit congested, it will evaluate existing flows and reroute traffic over different connections ensuring priority to time sensitive traffic. By using PfR and Cisco Performance Monitoring together with Flow Hopper, administrators gain end to end network visibility on a link by link, hop by hop basis all with NetFlow. 

The bottom line: Network traffic monitoring with NetFlow is at a whole new level from just two years ago. Join NetFlow Developments on Linkedin and stay on top of the future of NetFlow.

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