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SP360: Service Provider

By Mark Palazzo, VP/GM, Cisco’s Cable Access business

As industry vendors, we go into every tradeshow mired in details. From the packed meeting schedules to the booth demos (things go much better when they work…!) to the evening events with customers and industry colleagues, it’s far less glamorous than our non-convention-going friends might think. Right? Then there’s struggle to get the suitcase zipped, with the new tonnage of stuff needing transit back to the office.

It’s only afterwards, with a weekend in between to parse the major themes, that the answers come. I’ve checked in with several Cisco colleagues who were on-site in Chicago for The Cable Show last week. We’re in agreement that if the question is “I saw the whole thing! What happened??” in terms of this year’s blur of a Cable Show, our short list goes like this:

  1. Optimism reigns in cable. In years past, and especially last year, it seemed that a miasma of anxiousness blanketed the cable industry, led by fears of over-the-top video providers – and especially Netflix, as a contender for the industry’s own video-on-demand business. This year, we went into the show fresh with knowledge that Netflix traffic continues to gobble up broadband capacity — yet the sense of optimism amongst service providers was unmistakable. To me, it almost felt like the buoyant good will of the go-go-franchise years, in the late ‘70s. With continued evidence that DOCSIS can see the industry through even the heaviest of bandwidth-heavy times, coupled with significant advancements in both “cloud” and “client” – it’s gratifying, as a vendor company focused nearly entirely on network, client, and cloud!
  2. The chaos of change is even more chaotic. If you read these pages with any regularity, you’ll know that at Cisco we’re nearly evangelical about the global transformation towards Internet Protocol (IP) of everything that moves electronically. From content creation and adaptive streaming, to content delivery networks, to distribution into a home environment stacked with open standards like MoCA, DLNA, DTCP-IP and HTML5, among others, the dominance of IP is everywhere. And that’s making things pretty chaotic. Cleave to the IP side of the discussion and you’ll be fine.
  3. Long live DOCSIS and HFC! Nothing is better or more cost effective than the combination of these two technologies, IMHO. Our cable roots are rich in cable modem technologies, and we were hugely gratified to be behind the scenes on certain public demonstrations of 1 Gbps connections, during the show. Our CTO and Fellow John Chapman was involved when the first pens went to paper to outline the first DOCSIS specification, and his latest blog he discusses what it takes, and where we could go, if all channels within a contemporary cable system were bonded together to make wider, faster transmission paths for IP video and other IP traffic.
  4. IPv6 is alive and well in cable. As you can probably imagine, Cisco is deeply involved in helping everyone within the Internet eco-system to be ready for the coming transition to IPv6, from IPv4. The huge emphasis on IPv6 at the Show, from the half-day IPv6 Summit, to the on-floor IPv6 Pavilion, showed that our cable partners are “on it,” when it comes to native dual-stack IPv6 implementations.

That’s our short list about how this year’s Cable Show fared. What’s yours? We’d like to hear about it at our post-NCTA TweetChat tomorrow.

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1 Comments.


  1. Optimism is certainly higher this year, especially as MSOs start to see the opportunity in embracing the video traffic. Also intriguing is their interest in LTE – for the CIO.IT | Competition 2011 at The Cable Show, SevOne was selected to present on monitoring 4G LTE networks at scale. Read our http://blog.sevone.com/bid/39032/Best-Ideas-in-Cable-IT-Service-Assurance and offer your ideas on why cable industry IT leaders selected an LTE presentation.

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