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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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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.

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Cisco at Cable Connections

By now, you’re packed and ready to get to Chicago for The Cable Show. Last we saw you, as trade shows go, was six months ago, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). That’s when we announced our “Videoscape” strategy.

Quick refresher: Videoscape is our way to describe what happens when service providers integrate cloud, network and client, to deliver a more immersive customer experience.

Since January and CES, we’ve deepened our Videoscape efforts - with a focus on  reducing implementation complexity, while enabling service providers to roll out TV Everywhere style services.  We want to make sure it’s on your list of things to check out!

So, without further ado, here’s what’s going on with Cisco at the Cable Show (at least what’s public):

In the booth (#749):

  • Videoscape Experience: A showcase that unifies linear, on-demand and online content with a full lifecycle content management system that we call Videoscape Media Suite and powered by our CDN network.  Look for the 10-foot user interface (it’s kind of hard to miss) showing IP STB and soft clients running on IOS, Android and PC/Mac environments.
  • Videoscape Cloud: When you can’t put something in the end device, for whatever reasons, put it in a network that can optimize the experience for that end device. Our cloud contains elements of unified computing (UCS), transcoding into right-sized streams for different screens (CTM), and it’s a delivery platform for multi-screen video consumption (CDS). Why do it? To leverage the power of the network enabled cloud to reach your service to multiple end-points (managed and unmanaged) - all from a common back-end while retaining device independence.
  • Video over DOCSIS 3.0: Come see the CMTS that gives 10x the bandwidth at 1/10th the cost of D2 services.  Our CMTS platform can now demonstrate QoS levels for adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming; also check out our soft client for video playback in non-traditional end devices.
  • Cisco Prime Network Management: “Prime” is the umbrella name for our management and automation solutions for analyzing, designing, fulfilling and assuring network performance. It’s a modular suite of applications, designed to lower the total cost of ownership and to provide A-to-Z management for next-generation packet and transport networks.
  • Healthcare via TelePresence: For so many people, it’s not convenient or near to go visit the doctor. Cisco TelePresence offers person-to-person (and person-to-doctor) communication, unbounded by distance or physical location. As service providers continue to enter new commercial business segments, health care is a leading candidate. It’s ideal for telemedicine applications, it lowers the cost of care, and it provides a new and efficient way for physicians and hospitals to do business.
  • Service Provider Wi-Fi Solutions: Interested in adding carrier-grade Wi-Fi to your services mix? Check out our Next Generation HotSpot technology, which aims to simplify customer authentication and monetize WiFi networks. Also new: Come see our High Density WiFi, designed to provide wireless broadband coverage in sports and entertainment stadium environments.

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Advanced Video in Spain

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the video bonanza happening in the U.S., and forget to notice the groundswell of advanced video activities in other parts of the world.

Well, we’re here to tell you: Advanced video is alive and well in Spain. This week, we formalized an ongoing partnership with ONO, the largest cable operator in Spain, and the country’s leading broadband service provider.


Fernando Meco, ONO’s TV Product Development Director

Technically, the announcement means we’ve successfully deployed our DOCSIS 3.0-based CMTS, linked over ONO’s extensive fiber optics network, to our 8685DVB HD-DVR media servers – hybrid set-tops, containing both MPEG and DOCSIS tuners. Read More »

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Coffee with Shoptalk: Highlights from CTAM Summit, SCTE Expo

Contributed by Mark Palazzo, VP/GM for Cisco’s Cable Access Business Unit

On the last day of a New Orleans week that contained two major conventions - the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ (SCTE) annual Cable Tec-Expo, preceded by the Cable Television Association for Marketing’s (CTAM) Summit -- early morning shop talk requires a strong cup of coffee.

That’s what prompted this impromptu chat between me and Leslie Ellis, Multichannel News columnist and winner of the 2010 SCTE/WICT Women in Technology award.

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