Answers to Key DOCSIS 3.1 Migration Questions

Jeff Walker

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

With more headlines and data pointing to consumers’ increasing desire for TV Anywhere, multiscreen services, OTT and IP video, we know it’s crucial for service providers to look for ways to further optimize their network.

More providers than ever are transitioning to higher-speed, wideband DOCSIS 3.0 technology. In fact, DOCSIS 3.0 device shipments are expected to comprise nearly 90 percent of worldwide cable CPE shipments in 2014. And the good news is that by taking full advantage of DOCSIS 3.0, service providers not only optimize the performance of their networks, but also prepare those networks for a smooth migration to DOCSIS 3.1.

So where exactly are we in regards to the DOCSIS 3.1 migration? How do cable providers get there? And perhaps the question on most everyone’s mind…is it possible to ensure a smooth migration path? Thankfully, the short answer to the last question is “yes.”  But let’s address these questions in greater detail – as well as some additional key points related to DOCSIS 3.1.

First, what exactly will DOCSIS 3.1 do for cable providers? Under appropriate conditions, DOCSIS 3.1 will enable providers to achieve up to a 50 percent increase in data throughput in the same spectrum supporting speeds up to 10 Gbps in the downstream and 1+ Gbps in the upstream.

DOCSIS 3.1 enables expanded speeds through the use of OFDM, which uses multiple sub-carriers in channels up to 192 MHz in width, and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) forward error correction, which is more efficient than the Reed-Solomon FEC codes used in early DOCSIS versions. The combination of OFDM and LDPC allows providers to use higher modulation orders – 1024, 2048 and 4096 QAM – and enable maximum throughput across various HFC plant conditions.

So where do we stand in the DOCSIS 3.1 migration timeline? DOCSIS 3.1 specifications were released in October 2013, and many vendors are currently developing compatible products. DOCSIS 3.1 enables providers to provide compelling service offerings in a dynamic, competitive marketplace. They can meet the growing demand for managed and OTT IP video services as well as data and traditional video services, such as VOD and nDVR.

The expectation is DOCSIS 3.1 testing will begin later this year and into 2015. Deployments will more than likely begin in late 2015 and early 2016. But it’s crucial for providers making significant investments in their deployed DOCSIS 3.0 CCAP technology to offer software upgrades to key aspects of DOCSIS 3.1. This will enable them to offer enhanced downstream speeds beyond what is possible with the bonding of multiple 6 or 8 MHz channels.

Maybe by now you’re wondering how one might approach this migration path? Thankfully, the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 can be a multi-phased approach making it easier to adapt to the change.

It’s good to know from the start that the migration can be done separately on the downstream and upstream channels. This allows for quicker expansion on the congested downstream channels using some of the DOCSIS 3.1 features. From there, upstream support can be implemented later when additional upstream bandwidth is necessary.

Additionally, providers can start using DOCSIS 3.1 on their existing spectrum in 96MHz or 192MHz blocks and then later adapt their plant and expand to use the higher downstream frequencies up to 1.2 GHz or 1.7 GHz defined in the standards. This approach can make use of “holes” in existing spectrum, and support the gradual insertion of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems into their systems.

One of the operating modes that can aid in the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 is enabled by turning off a block of OFDM sub-carriers in the OFDM channel and operating a single-carrier QAM channel within that spectrum.  DOCSIS 3.1 modems and DOCSIS 3.0 modems will be able to operate in the same serving group with the DOCSIS 3.1 modems using both the OFDM and SC-QAM channels and DOCSIS 3.0 modems operating in single-carrier QAM channels.

Finally, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration is made easier and more cost-effective if the same CCAP line cards being used for DOCSIS 3.0 services can be upgraded to support 3.1 via a software upgrade. This saves the provider from an expensive line card replacement. It is also important to have a CCAP with the necessary capacity in the switch fabric, mid-plane, power and cooling. Ultimately, the overall system should scale to beyond 1 Terabit/s of throughput with the appropriate QoS control, traffic managers and network-side interfaces.

In summary, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration aims to be fairly straightforward because of both backward compatibility with DOCSIS 3.0 modems and gateways AND the ability to preserve today’s CCAP investments. Testing of compatible cable modems and gateways will commence later this year followed by upgrades to deployed CCAP systems. All of these initiatives strengthen the cable providers’ position to optimize the performance of their systems to support the growing demand for IP video, data and traditional video services.

We’re not too far away, and I’m looking forward to sharing more updates as we continue down the path to DOCSIS 3.1.

A New Solution for the Timing and Scaling of DOCSIS IP Multicast Services

hanks

Bill Hanks, Director of Systems Engineering

Attendees of this week’s The Cable Show are hoping to catch an early glimpse of tomorrow’s evolution in TV and cable. Next Wednesday morning, ARRIS’s own Tom Cloonan, CTO Networks, will be moderating a session entitled “From CDNs to Streaming Clouds: Advanced Approaches for Video Delivery”. On this panel, Amit Eshet, ARRIS Fellow, will be presenting a paper entitled “Multicast as a Mandatory Stepping Stone for an IP Video Service to the Big Screen” and I will be presenting a paper on entitled “An Improvement Proposal for the Timing and Scaling of DOCSIS IP Multicast Services”.

In my talk, I will address an issue related to a key component of the IPTV evolution: efficient DOCSIS IP multicast delivery.

Consumers’ increasing multiscreen habits coupled with the growing adoption of the DOCSIS 3.0 protocol pose an imminent timing and scalability challenge to many DOCSIS-based IPTV systems—ranging from multicast processing power, membership messaging latency, and unicast bandwidth needs for fast-channel-change techniques.

My co-authors and I believe that the industry can mitigate this challenge by employing a DOCSIS® Multicast Carousel to enable the cable modem to make its own tuning and multicast forwarding decisions.

Our panel takes place Wednesday, April 30 at 8:00 am in Room 403B. We hope to see you there!

ARRIS Powers Multiscreen Content on a Global Stage

tvconnect

Today we see the start of TV Connect 2014, and in the show’s 10th year, multiscreen is a stronger theme than ever before.

We’ll be demonstrating our multiscreen capabilities at the exhibition, and we’ll also be talking about how MAXISAT, a leading provider of managed and operated Multiscreen TV services, has selected our GT-3 Multiple Bitrate (MBR) Transcoder to deliver its next era of multiscreen entertainment.

Our GT-3 is now MAXISAT’s default transcoder for the future international expansion of its Content Hub, part of its end-to-end multiscreen video solution, MAXICASTER. This cuts away the traditional complexity and cost associated with multiscreen infrastructure, operations, and content distribution.

MAXISAT recognized the growing trend in multiscreen video consumption and tapped ARRIS to deliver a technology solution that could deliver tomorrow’s multiscreen entertainment experiences on today’s networks. Here at ARRIS, we love working with forward-thinking companies like MAXISAT that know how to meet consumer demands – both today and in the future.

Want to talk multiscreen with us further? Visit our team at TV Connect on Stand 41! 

A Different Kind of Olympic Record

We’ve spent the last weekend watching the Sochi Paralympics from our couches, beds and on the move – soschiwe’re hooked! As you enjoy this year’s Winter Paralympics from whichever screen is your favorite, we wanted to take a look back the incredible broadcast coverage record that was set by the Winter Olympics. While it’s no surprise that there’s now more content that ever, and that viewing is more “multiscreened” than ever, the numbers are huge!

The year’s Winter Olympics garnered 42,000 hours of television coverage, versus 32,000 in Vancouver in 2010, and the digital component sets a whopping record of 60,000 hours – against 25,000 hours for Vancouver. The International Olympic Committee has also highlighted that with 230 digital destinations supporting this year’s Games – which can be broken down into 155 website and 75 applications – there has a shift away from traditional fixed screens to more mobile devices, although people are often flicking between the two.

Even Timmo Lumme, managing director of Olympic television and marketing, is talking about the move to multiscreen, noting that “it is interesting that we are not just seeing people stay on mobile. It is a tendency that the smaller screen is becoming the first screen, but people are coming back to use the big screen as a first screen and then redeploying the smaller screen as the second screen.”

We recently blogged in more detail about how televised sports about to change, and what ARRIS is doing to ensure that service providers can deliver the world’s biggest sporting events your way.

What are you doing differently in this exciting new era of sports viewing, and how are you watching the Paralympics? Let us know in the comments below.

Motley Fool: ARRIS to Dominate IPTV Revolution

mot

Motley Fool is betting on ARRIS coming out ahead in the industry’s shift to IP Video.

In Motley Fool’s Friday investment commentary, Adam Levy made a compelling case (if we don’t say so ourselves) for ARRIS’s unique position to capitalize on the sea change in video delivery:

  1. The IPTV revolution is coming
  2. ARRIS will dominate the competition
  3. The revolution will be televised (quite literally)

The article reviewed recent moves from the industry’s leading service providers, indicating the building momentum—and perhaps inevitability—of Internet-delivered video content.

It highlighted ARRIS’s 2013 acquisition of Motorola Home, existing relationships with the largest pay-TV providers, incumbency in the networking and data delivery space, and specialty in video delivery—calling us “positioned perfectly for the move to IPTV.”

We couldn’t have said it better. ARRIS has invested years of work into the technology that powers these transformative advancements. It’s led to our unique position the industry-wide migration to IP video delivery—whether its through our network and cloud solutions or our leading gateway portfolio, which is giving our customers a full range of options for meeting tomorrow’s IP Video challenges.

And while the industry catches on in IP Video, you can bet that we’re busy inventing the future… whether it’s advancing home content delivery, monetizing multiscreen, delivering UltraHD, or conserving energy.

What’s Next for Multiscreen?

What happens when you’re the industry leader in enabling multiscreen?

At ARRIS, we didn’t rest on our laurels. While the industry was busy catching up to our innovation in multiscreen, we took our head start and came up with a number of ways to capitalize on this brilliant new experience.

Specifically, we innovated around four major monetization opportunities for service providers:

  1. Merchandising - leveraging consumer data and usage patterns to enhance recommendation engines, creating new revenue opportunities and informing the cross-sale of content, services, and more.
  2. Mobilized Intelligence - localized, interactive advertising and programming that responds to environmental changes, feedback, and interest.
  3. Targeted and Distributed Advertising - expanding monetization opportunities by enabling focused advertising that goes beyond the regional level to the device itself, creating personalized ad experiences that improve relevance and conversion, on any screen
  4.  Companion Advertising - concurrent advertising on second-screen, content, and interface experiences that enable timely product promotion

The result? Several innovative solutions for tapping the multiscreen experience:

Merchandiser

Our Merchandiser content marketing platform has taken personalization and merchandising to the next level…

Already, ARRIS Merchandiser customer, Bouygues Telecom has leveraged the platform to secure 2 million fixed IPTV subscribers in under 3 years and to grow out its video on demand service by over 50%.

Merchandiser enables multiscreen marketing across the entire catalog of content–from video to music, games, and apps. It allows service providers to enhance the navigation experience with personalized bundle marketing that encourages impulse purchases and cross sales with targeted offers, pricing and discounts.

This level of personalization is more important than ever, as emerging TV experiences like “dual-viewing”–highlighted by David Mercer of Strategy Analytics in this Videonet webcast reveal more opportunities for timely and relevant content display.

We recently announced that Merchandiser is now fully integrated with industry-leading content recommendation engines, including ThinkAnalytics and Digitalsmiths.

This all means that ARRIS is giving service providers a one-stop shop for enhancing, personalizing, and monetizing their new multiscreen experiences.

Second-Screen Solutions

ARRIS SyncOffers and SyncAds provides perfectly-timed merchandising targeted advertising on second-screen devices, using analytics to make sure that offers are relevant and personalized.

Cross-Platform Ad Insertion

Our Ad Insertion solution enables seamless, geo-targeted, screen-specific, and personalized advertising that connects marketers to viewers on any device.

It includes our Media Services Platform (MSP), which has been selected by Canadian telecom, MTS, for localized ad delivery.

ARRIS is making 2014 the year of monetizing multiscreen. Click here to learn more.

HEVC: Innovation Beyond 4K

Ultra HD is coming. With 4Xs the resolution of HD,  it is leading us to a breakthrough in video experiencesPicture1 with higher frame rates to better capture sports, enhanced color to render real-world colors, and enhanced dynamic range to create a “being there” experience. This evolution of video will transport us from our couch to the FIFA World Cup Final, the 2016 Olympics and beyond.

And, it’s largely possible because of an incredible compression technology called HEVC.

HEVC is twice as efficient as today’s H.264 standard for video compression, which puts mind-blowing 4K and 8K experiences well within the grasp of many service providers.

But HEVC has even bigger implications…

Its efficiency also means that it is capable of turning out unprecedented gains in bandwidth. That’s why ARRIS—the expert behind some of the largest industry video and broadband shifts of the past half century—is developing a range of solutions that use this game-changing standard to give service providers an edge in delivering the experiences that consumers crave.

ARRIS and HEVC are transforming multiscreen delivery, TV anywhere, nDVR, and more.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

What’s Transforming Entertainment in 2014?

In 2014, we expect to see four key trends driving the future of home entertainment:

1.) The Uber Gateway: All the media processing and distribution technology that previously required a dedicated set top for each screen now goes into one powerful device. The gateway has evolved into the hub of the new connected home ecosystem, offering unmatched versatility compared to one-trick OTT boxes.

You’ll see more of these shipping next year as service providers respond to consumers’ demand for more connected entertainment experiences across all their devices. Down the road, these gateways will become platforms for providing app-based TV experiences, leveraging sensor technologies and connected systems to enable telemedicine, remote education, and more.

2.) HEVC: Before you sit down to watch the FIFA World Cup Final in 4K next year, HEVC will have transformed the way that service providers deliver entertainment to consumers.  HEVC is much more than just a way to deliver Ultra HDTV—it’s is a powerful compression technology with twice the efficiency of H.264 and huge implications for service providers, not the least of which include enabling telcos to extend their reach over DSL, distributing wireless HD video throughout the home, expanding the footprint of TV anywhere, and more…

3.) The Wireless Home: New technologies are changing the connected landscape in the home, giving consumers unprecedented flexibility and choice in deciding where to enjoy their favorite content. MoCA 2.0 uses existing cable wiring to enable immersive TV experiences in the furthest reaches of the home. Meanwhile 802.11AC is changing the game for Wi-Fi, offering blazingly fast streaming of up to 1.3Gbps for the latest entertainment on mobile devices. These technologies are laying the groundwork for the new multiscreen, high-bandwidth, and personalized experiences coming online all over the home next year and beyond.

4.) New Form Factors: As the uber gateway and new IP set-tops take hold in the home and centralize key media management and processing activities—they will empower service providers to host a variety of devices on the network, in varying shapes and sizes. By opening up the traditional set-top architecture to this new connected ecosystem, service providers are not only changing the face of entertainment—through service integration at the device level–but the very mold of the devices themselves.

Check out a video below of Kevin Keefe, SVP & GM, Digital Video @ ARRIS speaking about these future video trends. Do you see any other trends driving the future of home entertainment? Tell us in the comments below.

« Older Entries