Getting the Most out of Your DOCSIS 3.0 Network: Dynamic Load Balancing of Bonded Modems

Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker-Sr. Director, CMTS Product Marketing, ARRIS

We’re using more bandwidth than ever. And that amount is growing by nearly 50 percent per year.

The reason is that we’re streaming more content, on more devices, from more sources than ever – whether it’s movies on our tablets, TV on our smartphones, or files from the cloud.

With no slowdown in sight and new services coming onboard every year, cable providers face a unique challenge to meet tomorrow’s demands on today’s networks.

One answer is wideband DOCSIS 3.0 technology, using dynamic load balancing across available wideband channels.

This can be a nearly universal solution, because most cable providers in North America and many around the world have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 capable CMTS/CCAP networks, and because DOCSIS 3.0 devices – like cable modems and video gateways – are on track to constitute 90 percent of all worldwide cable CPE shipments in 2014.

DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Bonding

This widespread adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 network and CPE components enable significant bandwidth increases from technology called “channel bonding,” which combines multiple channels (downstream, upstream, or both) into one, providing multiplicative bandwidth gains resulting in speeds beyond 1 Gbps downstream and 300 Mbps upstream.

DOCSIS 3.0 Dynamic Loading

Optimizing bandwidth from DOCSIS 3.0 networks requires dynamically load balancing channel-bonded modems. These modems have a particular set of channels in which they can transmit and receive upstream and downstream data – Transmit Channel Set (TCS) and Receive Channel Set (RCS) respectively. Users’ bonded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems often are spread across these channel sets.

Dynamic loading involves periodically checking and comparing the utilization of available channel sets and moving modems to alternative upstream or downstream channel sets with lighter loads.

Moving modems from one channel set to another falls under a function known as Dynamic Bonding Change (DBC), which performs the move in hitless (no loss of registration) operation to eliminate network interruption.

DOCSIS 3.0 Static Load Balancing

Static load balancing is an alternative to dynamic load balancing, but inferior for network optimization, as it involves the CMTS/CCAP assigning a bonded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem to a TCS and RCS at the time of registration based on modem count vs. channel utilization.

The Path to DOCSIS 3.1

Dynamic load balancing of bonded cable modems allows a provider to stay ahead of exploding demand for both managed and OTT video over IP services.  And, the expansion and efficient use of the DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding will also enable a smooth path to DOCSIS 3.1 and the ability to compete against fiber-deep initiatives by bonding together DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 channels.

Stay tuned for more on the migration path to DOCSIS 3.1…

ARRIS Technology Experts Take The Cable Show Stage

In a few days, ARRIS technology experts will take the stage to discuss content and consumption, cableshowstreaming clouds, CDNs, and the latest and greatest in industry trends. If you’re attending The Cable Show make sure to schedule in some of the below sessions and stop by for a visit at our booth #1537.

But before you go, connect with us on Twitter to whiz up on a few topics and follow our whereabouts. We’ll be tweeting throughout the show using #Cable2014, giving you a behind-the-scenes look of our booth, panels and the best of what’s to come.

Check back soon as we dive deeper into a couple of the sessions below. We look forward to seeing you in the City of Angels!

Tuesday, April 29

●    Session:  Scale Tale: A Forward View of Cable’s Data Network Architecture

Title:  A Model for Balancing HSD and Video during the DOCSIS3.1 Transition

Speakers:  Jeff Howe, John Ulm

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Doing Just PHYne: Bandwidth Increases for Cable Networks

Title:  A Side-by-Side Comparison of Centralized vs. Distributed Access Architectures

Speaker:  Michael Emmendorfer

Time:  2:00 – 3:15 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

Wednesday, April 30

●    Session:  From CDNs to Streaming Clouds: Advanced Approaches for Video Delivery

Title:  PANEL Moderator: “CDN/Efficient Transport”

Speakers:  Tom Cloonan, Amit Eshet, William Hanks

Time:  8:00 – 9:30 a.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Elevating The Experience: New Ideas for Delivering Best-in-Class Service

Title:  CIO Competition: Finalist: “A Structured Approach to the Discovery and Creation of Multiscreen TV Viewing Experiences”

Speaker:  Andrew Aftelak

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Location: 403A

●    Session:  My How You’ve Grown: Emerging Data Demand…And How To Satisfy It

Title:  Predictions on the Evolution of Access Networks to the Year 2030 & Beyond

Speakers: Ayham Al-Banna, Tom Cloonan, Michael Emmendorfer, Venk Mutalik

Time:  2:30 – 3:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  To The Hotspot & Beyond: Advanced Ideas for Cable Wireless Networks

Title:  The Importance of Air Time Allocation in Delivering Wi-Fi Quality of Service

Speaker:  Eli Baruch

Time:  4:00 – 5:00 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Anticipating Generation Next

Titles:  Global Broadband Trends: Survey Says… & Home W-Fi Optimization

Speakers:  Jeff Brooks, Sandy Howe, Jeanne Russo

Time:  4:00 – 4:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Imagine Park, Booth 1837

●    Session:  Thinking Big: Data Extraction & Analysis For Improved Performance

Title:  Big Data – Web Originated Technology Meets Television

Speaker:  Bhavan Gandhi

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

Thursday, May 1

●    Session:  When TV Speaks IP: The Transition to a New Video Environment

Title:  QoE Monitoring of IP Video Service

Speakers:  Amit Eshet, Ludovic Milin

Time:  8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Elevating The Experience: Techniques & Technologies for Operational Excellence

Title:  Taking the Customer’s View of Trouble Resolution (or Peering over the Walls)

Speaker:  Jeff Brooks

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

 

A Look Inside ARRIS @ NAB

More than 90,000 attendees descended on the Las Vegas Convention Center to hear about the future of content at the NAB Show. ARRIS is leading that conversation with demos that offer a glimpse of the many technologies driving the evolution of TV — from multiscreen digital rights management to UltraHD pathways, personalized ad insertion, and solutions that address the industry’s most influential trends.

In case you weren’t able to attend the show, we’ve provided a snapshot of our booth and a few of the demos shown.

The State of 4K/Ultra HD

Dr. Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow of the Technical Staff, ARRIS

Next week, the industry will discuss the future of content delivery at NAB. I’ll be participating in a seminar examining how new dimensions in video technology will impact the business of video distribution.  It’s hard to discuss this topic without hitting on 4K (also called Ultra HD or UHD) and its ramifications for the industry.

Last year, I wrote this column on what’s next for Ultra HD. My points about the phased approach to implementation still apply, but as this topic continues to heat up, I think it’s a good time for an update on where 4K is today and how it is shaping the roll-out on a global scale…

The 15-year plateau of HDTV is undergoing a dramatic change thanks to HEVC and UHD.

Here is some quick background: Ultra HD represents a truly new era of television beyond HD. It refers to higher 4k resolution (3840×2160), but also involves higher frame rates, higher dynamic range, and better color. And consumers will soon see new programming broadcast in 4K, starting with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals. Furthermore, the Japanese and Korean governments are driving 4K and 8K video transmission trials for this year as well.

So, Ultra HD is very different from HD, and it’s already here in some respects.

Many of us at ARRIS believe that UHD should be considered a roadmap for improving TV in the years to come. We also believe that the underlying HEVC standard that makes 4K content possible on today’s networks is also what will enable many of these improved TV experiences.

HEVC is two times as effective as the current H.264 standard and has the potential to cut bandwidth costs in half. It will even enable telco providers to extend their reach over current DSL networks.

With that in mind, the phased approach to UHD that I mentioned earlier is likely to follow these four steps:

  1. High-efficiency path using HEVC to improve bandwidth economics for HD services. This will enable ubiquitous OTT services for media gateways, Internet-attached 4K displays and HD and 4K tablets and smartphones.
  2. Cinematic track that would support “optimized-for-4K” HD encoding. In other words, HEVC will provide a pathway to true 4K content at 24 and 30 frames per second. “Optimized for 4K” HD encoding would imply near-pristine HD content that looks great when upsampled on a 4K display. But, it leverages HEVC to fit in the same bandwidth as HD content compressed with today’s MPEG4/H.264.
  3. HEVC becomes more attractive to sports programmers. These programmers will emphasize frame rate over resolution to deliver 1080p HD at 60 frames per second, and later at 120 frames per second. All while providing a pathway to true 4K at 60 frames per second.
  4. HEVC becomes that much more attractive to all service providers. They will use enhanced efficiency of HEVC to deliver traditional HD services while freeing up bandwidth for UHD and data services.
  5. Ultimately, HEVC opens the door for content and service providers to deliver better consumer experiences without breaking the bandwidth bank.

I hope that you can join me, Kevin Wirick, and Hugo Gaggioni, Sony CTO for Broadcast and Production Systems, and others at NAB in exploring this topic as well as the trends and technologies that will determine the future of video delivery networks.

Join my seminar, Wednesday April 9th @ 10am PT in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Room S219 “Creating Value in MultiScreen and Ultra HDTV” to learn more.

Nothing But Net – March Madness Demands Better Bandwidth

March-MadnessMarch Madness is here in the U.S.: 67 games. 16 teams. Loads of bandwidth.

According to USA Today, the demand for NCAA March Madness Live, online and mobile, more than doubled last year, to 49 million live video streams and 14 million hours of live video content viewed.

Of the 3.4 million who streamed the games, the average user scored a whopping 105 minutes of live video on broadband and 70 minutes on smartphones or tablets.

This year, we expect that trend to continue. And if last year was any indication, we’ll need a strong, fast and most importantly, reliable connection. The good news is that service providers, powered by ARRIS Assurance Solutions, are on top of their game—getting you the bandwidth you need and nipping network issues before they interrupt your programming.

Our ServAssure WiFi Solution is a fan favorite, proactively addressing common problems like buffering, choppy online videos, and slow download/upload speeds. And recently, Time Warner Cable enlisted the ARRIS WorkAssure Field Service Management platform to improve scheduling and management for its field service technicians—giving customers more reliable service by decreasing the time to service window to one hour.

As you tune in to the games in the coming weeks, know that ARRIS has you covered, so you can focus on what really matters – the game.

Before we return to your regularly scheduled programming, tell us what features would make your March Madness experience even better.

Merchandiser Wins TV Connect Award for Best IPTV & OTT Service Delivery Platform

Last night, at the TV Connect Awards in London, our Merchandiser platform won “Best Service Delivery Platform for IPTV and OTT.”

A well-deserved victory. Merchandiser is the content marketing component of our E2E multiscreen solution, and it’s enables  global service providers to go beyond simply enabling TV Connectmultiscreen to actually monetizing it through content personalization, catalog marketing, and recommendations.

To provide some context for the win, the TV Connect Industry Awards is seen to be one of the largest events in the Connected Entertainment industry calendar. The evening consists of a world-class panel of representatives from major service providers and senior executives coming together to pick winners and “Celebrate Innovation, excellence and achievement” in the global IP, TV and connected entertainment markets.

For ARRIS, it was an honor to be recognized for our ongoing legacy of innovation. Now we are back in the office… busy inventing the future.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Discussing the Next Era of Entertainment at TV Connect

We’re in London this week at the TV Connect event sharing how we can empower our service provider customers to deliver high quality video across the home today and in the future.  We’re also discussing how to evolve today’s multiple screen video platforms to a real multiscreen experience, looking at the compelling case for nDVR.  Visitors to the ARRIS stand are also exploring the future of advertising and monetizing in a multiscreen world.  And with 4k services just around the corner, we talking about the path to UltraHD from both the econding and decoding perspectives.

Take a look at some of our pictures from the show floor below and drop by and see us on Stand 41 if you’re at TV Connect this week!

DSC_7836 DSC_7841 DSC_7846 DSC_7849 DSC_7850 DSC_7930 DSC_7941 DSC_7949 TV Connect TC5 TC4 TC3 TC2 TC1

 

ARRIS Takes Home CableFAX Digital & Tech Award

We’re happy to share some exciting news! The ARRIS Media Streamer 4000 was awarded the 2014 CableFAX Digital & Tech Award in the “Connected TV/Smart TV Solution” category. 22494_CableFAX_Tech_Awards_Logo

According to CableFAX the awards recognize products that are “driving the digital media revolution” and “took chances, made incredible strides and understand the power of innovation.”

We have to agree. Our MS4000 Media Streamer is transforming video delivery to match consumer demand for anytime, anywhere, any-device experiences. It’s powered by Sling technology and lets our customers bring place-shifting features to our Whole Home Solution with MOXI entertainment platform.

Award winners were asked two questions about technology:

1.) What is the one question you must ask before making a technology decision?

2.) What is the one technology that will most change the game in the next year?

Jeanne CableFAX Tech AwardsThe answer to the first embodies ARRIS’s core values. We ask: “How will this technology benefit consumers and advance our industry?” Last year, we invested more than $500M in R&D creating the technology to transform tomorrow’s entertainment experiences—but when we make decisions to implement that technology, we always ask how it will serve consumers and our industry.

This plays into the second question about technology game changers. We’re betting on HEVC, a powerful new compression technology that improves mobile and HD video, enables UltraHD, and facilitates its delivery over Wi-Fi—improving the overall consumer viewing experience.

It’s our commitment to investing in new technology and implementing it in ways that progress the entertainment experience that earned our MS4000 Media Streamer an award and made ARRIS a finalist in four other categories: “Cloud Solution,” “Green Technology,” “New Product Award” and “Residential Equipment.”

Awards were announced in a ceremony held earlier this week at the Yale Club in New York City.

Congratulations, team! Read more about the CableFAX Digital & Tech Awards here.

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