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Cable Technologists: Thanks For a Great SCTE Cable-Tec Expo!

To the 10,000 or so of you who joined us in Atlanta this week for the annual Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers Expo – thanks for participating in what was one of the more high-energy, momentous Expos we’ve seen in decades. Wow! What a great one this year.

Starting with the ending, really: On the last afternoon of the show, Steve Callahan, Senior Network Engineer for Time Warner Carolinas, earned the grand prize at the first annual “IP Challenge.” (It wasn’t explicitly because he had fans with handheld signs in the audience [see photo to the left] – Steve really did perform the series of router configurations with alacrity and grace – but it didn’t hurt.
Our overall Cable-Tec Expo 2011 observations: While in years past, engineering to-do lists and intentions were overshadowed by doom-and-gloom predictions of cord-cutters, over-the-top video interlopers, and similar perceived calamity, this year’s Expo attendees were in full-tilt “let’s build it” mode.  The over-arching sentiment was that it’s time to auger in and get fully immersed in this overall transition to IP video. To that we say: Bring it!

In our booth, the two main areas of interest were the nuts-and-bolts details of how to get to “TV Anywhere,” as well as the key architectural elements that will enable the all-IP transition. Watch an unofficial “coffee clutch” video interview between our Mark Palazzo, VP/GM, Cable Access Business Unit, and industry technology columnist Leslie Ellis, about SCTE Expo trends. Read More »

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Two Vendors – Us and Arris – Collaborating on Multi-Wavelength Management

By Mark Palazzo, VP and GM of Cisco’s Cable Access Business Unit

Here’s an important message from the Department of the Obvious: All along the world of networks, more capacity is needed. That’s especially true in the optical domain of the access/HFC plant, where work continues to multiplex more and more wavelengths together on a single piece of glass.

To date, operators tend to move traffic at or near the 1310 nm and 1550 nm wavelengths, to simultaneously transmit linear/broadcast as well as on-demand/narrowcast video streams on the access/HFC network.

As well, a lot of operators, and the vendor community that serves them, are considering the establishment of a full-spectrum, multi-wavelength plan for optical gear. It’s because we’re at this relatively early point that it’s critical to establish a common plan — because when wavelengths collide, bad stuff can happen.

At this week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, two vendors in the optical equipment – our own Fernando Villarruel, and Venk Mutalik, VP/technology and strategy for Arris – will “leave their guns at the door,” so to speak, to co-deliver a paper and workshop about the importance of establishing a wavelength plan. Read More »

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SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Attendees: Welcome to Atlanta!

By Mark Palazzo, VP and GM of Cisco’s Cable Access Business Unit

Just a few more days until the start of this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, to be held in Atlanta from Nov. 14-17. We’re excited to see y’all in our fair city! A lot will go on next week, so we thought we’d put out some signposts about where you can find us, what we’re doing, and what we want to show you while you’re there.

Where you can find us and what we want to show you: We’re piling in to booth #1762, where we’ll be showing everything we’re working on to reinvent the television experience. That means:

  • The Videoscape Experience: “Videoscape” incorporates cloud, network and client devices to drive new video experiences over traditional and Internet-based networks.  That means freeing viewers from the traditional bounds of time, place and platform, towards the realities of anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Specifically, we’ll demonstrate the integration of linear, on-demand and over-the-top content, with our Media Suite – a full lifecycle content management system, for both managed and unmanaged (consumer-purchased) devices. As in set-tops, soft clients, Internet TVs, tablets, smart phones, you name it.

Also on hand: Ways to distribute media inside and outside the home, using our Media Gateway family of products, as well as our “Conductor” – a standards-based, real-time network and device management tool designed specifically for service providers. Read More »

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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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SCTE 2010: What to See from Cisco

The third wave of video is off-the-hook at this week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans. Brief refresher: Wave 1 was linear TV, both analog and digital. Wave 2 was a shift of video onto switched IP networks. Wave 3 is the chapter unfolding right before our other IP-connectible screens - tablets, laptops, PCs, smartphones - that are ready to receive and display video. It brings with it a way to launch new services much quicker than in the past.

We’ve been focused on this third wave of video for what seems like forever, but let’s call it four or five years. Ever since we contributed to the third chapter of the DOCSIS cable modem specification. We’re big believers, given our blended heritage as analog and television pioneers, from our Scientific-Atlanta roots, and as Internet pioneers, from our Cisco roots.

We’re also big believers in giving our people credit where credit is due, which is why it is such a honor to be a part of SCTE icon Ron Hranac’s rise to the Hall of Fame this year. Go Ron go! We’re with you all the way, and very grateful that you’re on our team!

Here’s what we’re eager to show you in our booth at the Expo (#553):

  • Our plans and technologies to support Video over DOCSIS, which we call “VDOC”
  • 3DTV set-tops that will ease the hiccups associated with early-model (pre-HDMI 1.4) 3DTVs
  • Our work on “TV Everywhere,” helping your subscribers get all the TV they want, on any of their screens, no matter where they are
  • Mobility services, commercial services for small and medium businesses, and the Cisco Interactive Showcase
  • Our ongoing and expanding efforts to reduce carbon footprint, in the SCTE Green Pavilion – set-tops, access/transport products, and our Cisco TelePresence videoconferencing efforts

Outside of the booth, you’ll also be able to catch up with our technologists and researchers during the conference. Read More »

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