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Announcing the SCTE IP Challenge

By Daniel Howard, CTO and SVP, Engineering of SCTE

As you know, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) continues to strive to provide new and unique ways to both train and challenge the cable workforce and our members.   Through our Chapters, we have been holding a very successful Olympic-style challenge for field-level employees that includes both hands-on skill assessments and knowledge-based contests, and this continues to be a big hit with our members and the industry.  But one thing I kept hearing in meetings with cable executives, managers and at SCTE chapters was the need for SCTE to provide resources and involvement opportunities for the IP engineers and computer scientists in our workforce who manage an increasingly larger portion of the overall network.

I’m therefore proud and excited to announce the new SCTE IP Challenge that we developed in partnership with Cisco as a response to this need.  This new interactive event was created to drive awareness of the importance of foundational IP knowledge among the cable workforce, and it is designed to promote the benefits of IP expertise in the cable industry, as well as leverage thought leadership around IPv6 in particular. Read More »

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IBBS Successfully Deploys Cisco Network Registrar, Providing Cloud-based DHCP and DNS Services to over 250 Cable Operators

Integrated Broadband Services (IBBS) is one of the largest cable operators in North and South America? Company name doesn’t ring a bell? You are not alone. According to company executives, “IBBS is the biggest cable company you’ve never heard of.” Here’s why – they’re behind the scenes, working with small and medium-sized local cable operators. IBBS offers hosted or cloud-based services to over 250 cable operators to help them provide data services and voice services to their subscribers – connecting more than one million cable modems across North and South America.

In the late 1990s, small and medium-sized cable television companies across North and South America recognized that to stay competitive with larger players and upstart “triple-threat” providers, they needed to offer high-speed data services to their customers. They faced a significant challenge, however, when it came to provisioning all the new IP-based devices and services they needed to deploy. Writing their own software was a daunting task, but purchasing new solutions was beyond the constrained budgets that most of these companies faced. Read More »

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Why I’m Feelin’ Good About Chicago and The Cable Show

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! Read More »

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The Buzz About Cisco and Red Bee Media

By Bart Spreister, Sr. Director, IP Video Systems, Cisco

Today we announced our collaboration with Red Bee Media, an international media management company, to offer broadcasters and media companies the means to provide TV and other kinds of digital media through streaming video players and VOD portals.

That’s kind of a mouthful. Allow me break it down into my top three reasons why this is one of the more exciting deals I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with:

  1. Red Bee is cool, --plain and simple. Those who hang out on the U.S. side of the Atlantic may not have heard much about Red Bee Media before, so let me explain it this way: Imagine going to another country to hang out with your new colleague, who knows everybody and is doing all the coolest stuff in video. Red Bee is that kind of partner. They’re a highly respected TV and media aggregator in Europe, and especially the U.K. For instance, of the five major broadcasters there, Red Bee provides the online portal and client. They’re creative and connected and fun, which is a great combination. Read More »

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Yes, Virginia, There is a (Very!) Long-Term Future for DOCSIS Technologies

Contributed By John Chapman, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Cable Access Business Unit, and Engineering Fellow

Earlier this year, as part of CableLabs’ “Innovation Showcase,” in Atlanta, we showed how DOCSIS 3.0-based technologies can gracefully and powerfully scale, if operators were to continue increasing the number of digital channels they place into a DOCSIS bond.

The question we were endeavoring to answer was this: Is DOCSIS dead, or does it have another 15+ years of life in it? The answer is clearly the latter.  Why? Because the classification and QoS features in backbone routers (like our recently announced ASR 9000 System) are architected for massive speed, in terms of packets-per-second - and those features will migrate down into cable CMTS gear.

The demo for CableLabs focused on our 3G60 CMTS cards, which bonded 48 downstream channels and 12 upstream channels, using 256 QAM in the downstream, and 64-QAM in the upstream. The result was a 1.6 Gbps downstream pipe, and 300 Mbps upstream. But that was back in February. The bond size was generous, but still partial. When you consider the full spectrum capacity of cable television systems - from 54 MHz to 1 GHz, downstream, and from 5 MHz to 42 MHz upstream - clearly, there’s a lot more breathing room for wideband IP services.

Read More »

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