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What’s “Evolved” About An “Evolved CCAP”?

By Todd McCrum, Director of Product Management, Cable Access Business Unit, Cisco

If you’re making the rounds at this week’s INTX, you’ve likely gotten wind of our flagship product announcement — the Gig-maker that is the cBR-8, as part of Cisco’s Evolved CCAP solution. Our categorization of it as an “Evolved CCAP” solution may need further defining. The answer requires a bit of background, starting with CCAP itself. It stands for “Converged Cable Access Platform,” where the “converged” part refers to a one-size-fits-all QAM modulation system that works for video, voice and data. Prior to CCAP, modulation was handled individually for video and data/voice products — I still remember the cable system GM who lamented that “every time I turn around, somebody’s sending me a request to buy more QAMs.” CCAP alleviates that concern.

What’s evolved about an evolved CCAP, and in particular, the cBR-8, can be characterized in three ways. First, the original CCAP spec (started about five years ago) covered a total of 64 6-MHz channels. They’re typically divvied up half and half: 32 channels for DOCSIS 3.0/broadband traffic, and 32 for MPEG-delivered, narrowcast video, like VOD. (Note: Not live or linear.) Subsequently, the DOCSIS specification itself evolved to 3.1, which substantially increases available bandwidth for IP-based services. As a result, and in our view, CCAP needed to develop in lockstep.

Evolved CCAP enables 100% convergence of all video types — narrowcast/VOD, sure, but also linear/MPEG, and any managed IP video tiers that might be entering the service mix. Plus enough room for both DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1-based traffic. The reason I feel confident in saying that the cBR-8 is ahead of the marketplace on this one is that our competitors tend to use an off-the-shelf chassis, which puts a hard architectural limit on how many total serving area groups they can reach. Trying to wring more bandwidth, or reach more serving areas, becomes expensive with forklifts in that scenario.

Which brings me to the second characteristic of an evolved CCAP: Read More »

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Getting Broadband Where It Needs to Be: Introducing the CBR-8

Here’s an industrially trending topic: Broadband speeds. We had the January 2013 FCC mandate for at least one Gigabit community in all 50 states by this year. We have Google’s continued Gigabit push, expected to roll into 18 more cities this year. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is leading broadband expansion into 93% of U.S. cable homes, while driving initiatives to triple broadband speeds, and further the industry’s leadership and innovation in broadband.

This isn’t the easiest mandate, for service providers. Recall that broadband consumption continues to grow at 50% year-over-year.. And coming up fast are the things of the Internet of Everything, which put another multiplier on broadband consumption.

In short, and whether or not you believe Gigabit services are more “billboard speeds” right now, the Internet needs to go faster..and faster. That’s why you’ll be hearing so much from us this week at INTX about our new cBR-8 — the industry’s first platform with the speed and capacity to deliver (not just test!) 10Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 and capable of supporting scaled deployments of bouquets of DOCSIS 3.0, DOCSIS 3.1, and converged data/video services.

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That’s tech-talk for super fast, available, and effective broadband — without the unpopular “forklift upgrade.” We designed the cBR-8 that way on purpose, with three sustaining project goals: 1) massive bandwidth, 2) delivered cost-effectively, to 3) enable our customers a rapid market-entry with reliably competitive broadband products.

Here’s what the cBR-8 brings to the broadband table: Read More »

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Trading Mobile Dollars for IoT Pennies

Jeff Zucker of NBC Universal coined the prescient expression “Trading analogue dollars for digital pennies” in 2008 to describe the huge gap that he was observing between the lucrative promises of online and digital advertising and the reality of the meager revenues that it was in fact producing.  Could the same be true of the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution?  Are we trading the hundreds of dollars that we are generating from mobile users for the pennies that providers get for connecting “things”?

Connecting the 50 billion projected devices, or things, to the Internet is the cornerstone of the Internet of Things.  Given the challenges of remoteness, mobility and the cost of wiring up these devices, many of these connections will be made over mobile networks.  In fact, Beecham Research estimates that the number of cellular machine-to-machine connections will grow to 1 billion by 2020, up from 172 million in 2013.  It is no wonder that the mobile operators are salivating at the prospect of all this new revenue to be earned from connecting inanimate objects.  This windfall is especially at a time when there traditional mobile business is under attack.  Changes in voice usage and bundled minutes are causing voice revenues to decline and data revenues are under attack from Wi-Fi connections and over-the-top providers (see The Mobile Paradox). Read More »

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Sponsored Data is off to a Rolling Start

In a mobile application ecosystem dominated by Over-the-Top (OTT) providers, mobile operators need to exploit new business models in ways to create value with them. One example of a Monetization use case promising a new business model is Sponsored Data. An early proponent among operators has been AT&T, who defines Sponsored Data as: “a service that enables companies to sponsor the data usage for specific content on behalf of eligible AT&T wireless customers [who] can browse, stream and enjoy content … without impacting their monthly data plan allowance.”

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A year after launch, AT&T spokespersons remain upbeat about its Sponsored Data program, despite only signing up about 10 content partners. What are some of the services enabled? Liberty Mutual insurance customers, for example, can send their smartphone photos from accident claims up to the Liberty Mutual cloud, without incurring data charges from AT&T. Kingsoft gives users of its mobile office software sponsored access to file access and transfers. AT&T states that is sees great interest in Sponsored Data from a variety of developers and content owners, but that such a service based on a new business model will take time to establish itself.

Waving the Green Flag

Other operators are experimenting with the Sponsored Data business model. Customers of T-Mobile’s Music Freedom service can now stream all the music they want from the most popular streaming services without it counting against their 4G LTE data limits. Other operators offer similar sponsored Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora, or social media applications like Facebook. Read More »

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Cisco Continues Mobile Core Momentum: Leads in Packet Core Market Share according to Infonetics Research Data.

So Spring is finally here in the New England Area, the snow is finally gone after a record breaking snow fall totals, and the flowers are starting to sprout.

Last week, we announced that ACG Research again confirmed that Cisco continues to be the leading provider of Mobile Packet Core and Mobile IP Infrastructure over the past several quarters. Now another analyst firm, Infonetics Research highlighted that Cisco has indeed garnered the Packet Core Lead at 21.7% based on EPC / 3G Packet Core data in their report “Mobile Infrastructure Equipment for Q4 2014.

So where is this customer momentum coming from you ask? Well last month Read More »

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