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A Special Supplement to

In Partnership with

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The Ultimate Guide to IPTV is a supplement to the June 2006 issue of Telecommunications Americas. Copyright 2006 Horizon House Publication


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Service providers and vendors are
working collaboratively to define
the architecture, requirements and
standards for IPTV.
Maria Estefania, ATIS




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Savvy service providers are embracing

IPTV as the winning platform
for delivering the latest revenuegenerating entertainment and
communications services.
Christine Heckart, Microsoft TV,
and Carl Rijsbrack, Alcatel


The traditional emphasis on managing

networks must change to provide
the reliability, QoS and always-on
bandwidth availability essential for IPTV.
Sameh Yamany, Trendium


The ability to provide real-time,

flexible billing, provisioning solutions
will be critical to the success of many
service providers as they enter
new markets.
Renata Silva, Siemens


Helping service providers redefine the

end-user service experience.
Jim White, Alcatel


Video/IPTV-to-network linkages
are needed in order for providers
to be able to deliver a high-quality
experience to millions of customers
while maximizing resources.
David Benham, Cisco Systems


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Using IMS and IP convergence to

deliver what the customer wants.
Andrea Sorensen, Amdocs

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Leveraging the power of IMS and
intelligent, content-aware optical/
Ethernet networks to deliver
innovative TV services wherever,
whenever and however your
customers want them.
Rob Piconi, Lucent Technologies


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Service providers need to look beyond
IPTV alone and bundle it as one of
many services. Adopting this strategy
will help dramatically increase
broadband service revenue.
Gary Southwell, Juniper Networks

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Telecom providers with rich IPTV
service creation platforms will be the
masters of their own fate.
Phil Thompson, mPhase Technologies


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The real lesson for service providers
is evolution and pricing.
Tom Nolle, CIMI Corp.

For service providers and OEM
players, hybrids will deliver more
reliability and fewer customer service
calls, having a significant impact on
customer satisfaction and
brand loyalty.
Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates

Take nothing for granted,
early adopters say.
Jim Barthold,
Telecommunications Magazine

The Ultimate Guide to IPTV is a supplement to the June 2006 issue of

Telecommunications Americas. Copyright 2006 Horizon House Publications.

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8K@J @J pleased to partner with Telecommunications Magazine in presenting

to you The Ultimate Guide to IPTV. In this publication, you will find the latest
information supporting IPTV service deployments, by the communications
industrys leading equipment and software companies.
Over the past several years, service providers have made enormous investments
in new network infrastructure and fiber deployments, all designed to bring
unsurpassed bandwidth speeds and new services to the user. Among these new
services is IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television.
IPTV offers an unparalleled and revolutionary video and entertainment
experience. Thats because it offers much more than just live television. IPTV
offers a dizzying array of entertainment options and functions iTV, gaming
options, Video on Demand, Pay Per View, and much more. It is capturing the
imagination of consumers
whove already had the
opportunity to either subscribe,
or in some cases preview this exciting new service
in various test markets.
As IPTV matures as a technology, so does the need
for industry collaboration. Critical to the ongoing
rollout and mass deployment of IPTV service is
the ability of service providers and the vendor
community to reach consensus on critical architecture requirements, as well as standards that support
content delivery, digital rights management, Quality of Service, interoperability, and other technical
and operational considerations. It is for this reason that the Alliance for Telecommunications
Industry Solutions (ATIS) moved forward with the creation of the IPTV Interoperability Forum
an industry venue where leading service providers, manufacturers and software companies are
fleshing out the architecture and standards that will further support the delivery of IPTV into the
marketplace. In this Ultimate Guide to IPTV you will learn more about this exciting initiative, and
the path ATIS member companies are taking to fully realize IPTV service.
Also featured in this informative guide are valuable contributions from several industry leaders
in IPTV. From their articles, you will learn more about how these companies are supporting IPTV
with solutions for service assurance, middleware, service integration, billing, and much more.
Thank you for your interest in the Ultimate Guide to IPTV. We hope you find it most useful as
you give consideration to the technology and operations path and real business opportunities that
IPTV service offers to our industry and its users.

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Susan M. Miller
President & CEO, ATIS

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Service providers and vendors are working collaboratively to define
the architecture, requirements and standards for IPTV
Maria Estefania, ATIS

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for purposes of deploying real-time
entertainment video and TV service
offerings. Providers of traditional telecom
services throughout the world currently
utilize, or are presently deploying video
services over IP networks.
From the telecom service providers
standpoint, IPTV encompasses service
provider network subscriber services that
deliver secure broadcast-quality audio and
video to devices for display or recording.
Services may include broadcast type services
beyond live TV, to include video on demand
(VOD), Pay Per View (PPV) services, Live TV
Pause and Rewind Functionality, Interactive

the standards and the most appropriate

technology path is a critical step towards
effective deployment of IPTV services,
and the desired revenue generation that
will follow. It is for this reason that the
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
Solutions (ATIS) the communications
industrys technical planning and standards
development organization based in
Washington, DC established the IPTV
Interoperability Forum (IIF).
The ATIS IIF is responsible for developing
business-driven technical requirements and
activities that enable the interoperability,
interconnection and implementation of

multimedia, but may not have visibility to

other aspects of the application.
Companies active in the ATIS IIF
include service providers such as AT&T,
Bell Canada, BellSouth, BT, Qwest,
Rogers Wireless and Verizon; as well as
industry vendors, to include Alcatel, Cisco,
Ericsson, Fujitsu, Juniper Networks, Lucent,
Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Siemens, and
Sun Microsystems. ATIS established the IIF
in June 2005, following the recommendation
of an exploratory group of ATIS member
companies, which identified a series of
technical and operational issues surrounding
IPTV that need to be addressed by the
industry. Those issues include:

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TV (iTV) services and even distribution of

content by IPTV service users/consumers.
Such IPTV services are delivered across an
access agnostic, packet switched network that
employs the IP protocol to transport the audio
and video signals. In contrast to video over
the public Internet, with IPTV deployments,
network security and performance are tightly
managed to ensure a superior entertainment
experience, resulting in a compelling
business environment for content providers,
advertisers and customers alike.
Broad industry agreement on both

IPTV systems and services. The scope of

work within the ATIS IIF includes:
Develop interoperability agreements,
technical reports, or other types of ATIS
standards where appropriate.
Provide a venue for interoperability activities.
Provide a venue for the assessment of IPTV
issues in the context of NGN directions.
Coordinate standards activities that
relate to IPTV technologies. This includes
providing a liaison function between various
standards organizations and forums that are
each working on important components for

To support the smooth and effective rollout

of IPTV, it is critical for the industry to
reach consensus on an overarching reference
architecture that addresses all elements
of an IPTV solution. In response to this
need, the ATIS IIF Architecture Task Force
recently completed its IPTV Architecture
Requirements Document (ATIS IIF-WF100R12), which defines, in broad terms, the
scope for IPTV services, and identifies the
high-level requirements that will guide the
time. Areas of focus within the IIF Architecture
Requirements Document include:
A finite definition of services that qualify as
IPTV services.
The functions necessary for content
providers to provide content to the service
Functions required by service providers to
offer IPTV services.
Functions required by network providers
to deliver IPTV services.

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Functions in the home networking
environment that ware necessary for the
consumer to receive IPTV services.
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Because there are no accepted metrics

for assessing requirements for content
security and quality of content delivery,
content providers today are somewhat
unilaterally establishing requirements for
purposes of granting rights to distribute
content via IPTV.
Regarding quality of content delivery,
while some standards do exist, a planning
tool for video may be needed, which might
be similar in scope to the E-Model voice
transmission planning tool as specified in
ITU-T Recommendation G.107. Such a
technology independent metric would
allow service providers to engineer their
content networks from an application
layer to overcome impairments that may
be specific to a particular technology.
For these reasons, the ATIS IIF is
actively defining the requirements
for the interoperability of systems
and components in the IPTV digital
rights management (DRM)/security
Its Digital Rights
Management Task Force is now
completing work on the new ATIS
defines such requirements, for purposes
of creating an IPTV DRM/security
interoperability specification during
its next phase of work. Additionally, a
third IIF Task Force that is addressing
QoS is giving consideration to defining
applications and requirements for a VModel planning tool.
must have the flexibility to select, adopt,
and deploy solutions according to their
specific business needs, a key objective of
the ATIS IIF is to enable the widest range
of IPTV business models, while keeping
IPTV content secure, and enabling
security vendor competition and platform
operator choice.
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The need for end-to-end QoS is not

unique to IPTV service, but is needed to

support a consumers quality of experience
(QoE) expectations while multiple
service traffic types are also on the same
network. While todays deployments are
finding pragmatic solutions, end-to-end
QoS for multiservice (voice, video, data)
networks is definitely viewed today as a

circuitbased networks that impact QoS

and network performance.
Assuring that satisfactory end-to-end IP
performance is actually achieved, which
could require seamless signaling of endto-end QoS parameters across both
network and user interfaces.
Path establishment (call set-up,

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work in progress, or perhaps better stated
as works in progress because there is no
single solution to the issue.
While industry standard definitions
exist for QoS and network performance
requirements for delivering video
content, some substantial challenges
remain for QoS in the context of IPTV.
As examples, lacking are proven, robust,
and scalable standardized mechanisms
for the following:
Rapid and complete restoration of IP
layer (not just physical layer) connectivity
following severe outages (or attacks) of
heavily loaded networks.
Path availability levels comparable to

channel-switching delays, network server

responses) comparable to what users have
experienced with non-IPTV services.
Reliability and robustness of service
components and critical protocols (e.g.,
routing, especially multicast routing).
Operation during, and recovery from,
commercial power outages.
Assuring that satisfactory end-toend performance is actually achieved,
especially when disparate networks (e.g.,
fiber and wireless) are being traversed.
The ATIS IIFs QoS Task Force
is presently working on a series of
requirements for QoS that are based on
user QoE tests that address these areas


Source: Atis
Transports region-Independent video content
Premium channels, Broadcast network feeds,
centralized video ser vers
Video Content

Video Content




Transports region-Independent video content
Transports region-specific video content
Community content, local network feeds,
distributed video servers



what users have become accustomed with

circuit-based data flows.

mechanisms similar to those present in





and others, and seeks to identify or

establish appropriate QoS metrics for
IPTV. Such metrics would include fidelity
standards for subscriber video delivery;

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allowance for transcoding and packet loss;
error link budgets; specifications for error
concealment in video codecs; and definitions
for measuring channel change latency.

customer equipment (such as set-top boxes)

Content provider network interface
specification for third-party content

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While considerable work is underway

on interoperability testing for some
of the components of IPTV (DSL, for
example), there appears to be little work
on interoperability testing at the IPTV
application level. Some areas where
interoperability standards would help in the
delivery of IPTV services include:
Customer network interface specification for

Encoder Set-top box compatibility for

Video Encoder Network QoS standards
for joint optimization of the network
and codec algorithms.
OSS and BSS interfaces.
A fourth ATIS IIF Task Force the
Testing and Interoperability Task Force
was established to define interface
specifications; identify appropriate testing
and interoperability work within the

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standards development community; develop

test plans for equipment based on interface
specifications; and serve as a potential
sponsor of testing and certification activities.
This Task Force will begin its work once the
guidelines and requirements are established
by the other IIF Task Forces.
IPTV service is critical to the business
strategies of todays telecommunications
service providers. The IPTV video and
entertainment experience is receiving an
enormously positive response in test markets
throughout the U.S., and globally. To fully
with IPTV, service providers, manufacturers,
and software companies must collaborate on
the technical requirements and standards
needed to move IPTV technologies and
applications ever more aggressively into the
For more information on the work of the
ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum, and to
obtain IPTV standards and architecture
requirements, visit the ATIS web site at
Maria Estefania is vice president of
Industry Forums at ATIS


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Leveraging the power of IMS and intelligent, content-aware optical/
Ethernet networks to deliver innovative TV services wherever, whenever
and however your customers want them
Rob Piconi, Lucent Technologies


K<C<:FD consumers have

changed they want communications
experiences to be available when and where
they are, and provide a richer and more
interactive experience. They want their TV,
Internet, e-mail, IM, and personal voice
services to find them whatever device
they are using and wherever they are, be it
at home, at work or on the go. They would
also like to be able to sign-on to the network
once to access all of their services, and to
receive a single bill that is clear and easy to
understand. Most importantly, they want
all of these features to be personalized to
address their individual needs and interests
and to be delivered in a way that is simple
and seamless and that enhances their

from multimedia content anywhere in the

world, that can be sent to anywhere in the
world, with channels selected based on each
individual users preferences. These video
and new multimedia services represent
significant growth opportunities for service
providers, who will be required to offset
the degradation in their traditional voice
revenue as VoIP and other service offerings
from new competitors begin to take share.
Service providers are exploring ways to
address these customer demands, and have
taken steps to simplify things for their
subscribers. For instance, many operators
have introduced service bundles designed to
give consumers a single, integrated package
of the key services they are looking for, most

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lifestyle, rather than complicates it.
To compete with competitive triple play
offerings from cable TV multiple service
operators (MSOs), many traditional telecom
service providers are beginning to introduce
IPTV offerings to address consumers
entertainment needs IP provides an
attractive method for delivering TV and
video services because it offers operators and
their subscribers a great deal of flexibility in
terms of the ability to personalize service
offerings and in the future support access to
a virtually unlimited channel line-up created

notably voice, broadband Internet access,

and TV typically over cable or satellite as
well as mobile voice and data services.
However, while standard IPTV offerings
are likely to help operators retain and
acquire customers, these services do not
address one of the fundamental challenges
inherent in bundling of services, namely
price erosion. Typically, when multiple
services are bundled, subscribers pay a
single, low price, driving down the average
revenue per user (ARPU) derived from each
individual service. Additionally, in most

cases bundled services still require separate

services platforms or stovepipes for each
type of service, so capital and operational
costs remain quite substantial.
The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
architecture, however, offers operators an
opportunity to move beyond conventional
bundled services to create profitable,
personalized, blended services. It is
important to point out that services blending
is very different from the services bundling
described above.
Blending comes about by enabling
traditionally independent services to interact
with one another, typically by sharing
information such as buddy lists, location
data, presence information and subscriber
preferences and profiles.
Because they are based on a single delivery
platform, services such as instant messaging
can be combined with voice and IPTV
capabilities to create such new offerings as
multiparty video-enabled messaging on TV.
Additionally, because IMS-based services
are delivered using a standardized network
framework, operators can take advantage
of both capital and operational savings and
quicker time to service delivery, which
over time could give them a competitive
advantage against other providers. While
some level of blending is possible using
the stovepipe approach, offering blended
services in this way would be both costly
and complex.
As service providers begin to rollout more
widespread commercial IPTV services,
they will need a way to compete with, and
take share from other more established
players in the field -- cable and satellite TV
providers and IMS can provide the edge
they need. With IMS, operators will be able

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to go beyond traditional service offerings
to provide powerful, high-demand IP
multimedia applications such as:
Caller ID on TV: Displays Caller
ID information on the TV screen and
allows consumers the option to pause
programming, answer the call and
resume the video where they left off
when theyre done -- or send the call
to voice mail.
Video and data services bundling:
Enables subscribers to use their TV to
launch new applications during TV
programming, letting them browse the
web, shop, or vote in interactive programs,
or access their voicemail or e-mail.
Locator for Family Finder applications:
Locate specified friends and family
members and have their location
displayed on their TV, using their
loved ones existing cell phone presence
enablement features.
Personalized Advertisements: Users
will receive and view ads that are
targeted to them and selected based
on their preferences and viewing/
purchasing habits.
Mobile Multimedia: Access TV services
from any location, using any device, while
enjoying the same selection, look and feel
of home applications.
The examples noted above are just a few
of the service blends that IMS-enabled
TV services -- or IP Multimedia TV - can enable operators to offer. Each of
these blended services share some fairly
unique, and compelling attributes that
current-generation TV providers will be
hard-pressed to match in the near term.
Perhaps most notably, IMS enables
services to be easily personalized to
address the needs of individual users. IMS
also addresses the need for portability,
ensuring that services can be delivered
seamlessly across wireless and wireline
networks of various types, reaching
subscribers wherever they are in the form
most appropriate to their location, and
In addition, IMS includes elements
that support dynamic allocation of
bandwidth, enable the network to
adapt to particular customer needs, and
supply the appropriate level of network
resources to ensure a given level of
quality for a particular application. The
service can thus be delivered in a way that
is compatible with the device being used


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personalized to the needs of the specific
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While these new services present enormous

opportunities for operators, they also
present some challenges. The introduction
of video onto service provider networks is
expected to generate network traffic that
will dwarf the volume of traffic generated
by both current and future data and voice
services; recent bandwidth studies highlight
this expected growth (see Figure 1). From
a network infrastructure perspective,
distributing this video traffic effectively,
scaling it to support thousands and even
millions of users while delivering a superior
quality of experience will be priority
number one.
To achieve this, the network
infrastructure must be resilient and able
to uphold the level of QoS, reliability,
and availability demanded by users.
Though the network must continue to
support traditional voice and data traffic,
it also needs to scale to support much
higher-bandwidth blended services.
Such services have substantially lower
tolerance to network errors and require
the network to support the following
service capabilities:
High availability deliver user expected
quality of experience with hardware,
software and network redundancy and
sub-50 millisecond network recovery,
avoiding service interruptions
High scalability of bandwidth,
subscribers, and QoS to support delivery
of multiple services to a large subscriber
Efficient multicast for high video
scalability - support both Layer 3
protocol independent multicast (PIM)based multicast to optimize bandwidth
usage and Layer 2 virtual private LAN
service (VPLS)--based multicast to

simplify multicast hierarchy and service

Cost efficiency enabling competitive
service bundles
Many large carriers have selected VPLSbased carrier Ethernet infrastructure to
aggregate the subscriber traffic coming
over DSL, FTTH or wireless connections,
for its reliability, scalability and lower cost.
To maintain sub-50 millisecond recovery,
carriers can implement technologies such
Ultimately, the technologies employed
depend on several factors including
expected capacity requirements, traffic
engineering and QoS requirements.
Operators also need to evaluate existing
infrastructure investments, and the
economics of the business case. In order
to achieve greater effectiveness in the
design of the solution, the best approach
may entail the split of the network into
several parts with the best technology
chosen for each. In other instances,

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converged platforms combining the

latest Ethernet and VPLS capabilities
combined with TDM, WDM and routing
capabilities may be employed. The key to
success is combining all these technology
and infrastructure choices with integrated
management and services.
Continued on page 14


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Video/IPTV-to-network linkages are needed in order for providers to be
able to deliver a high-quality experience to millions of customers while
maximizing resources
David Benham, Cisco Systems

?@>?$>IFNK? M@;<F and IPTV services,

especially a mix of new high-definition
channels and on-demand video, will drive the
need for large amounts of bandwidth. Service
Providers need intelligent video-to-network

of on-demand services and the conversion

to high-definition further accelerate video
bandwidth requirements.
So, how much bandwidth is needed to
support a robust video/IPTV service? For

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linkages in order to provide a high quality of
experience (QoE) to viewing audiences.
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The amount of network bandwidth required

to transport video services is typically much
more than what is required to support voice
and Internet access services. Increased use

the bandwidth-consuming on-demand

service, the most difficult factor to predict
is the peak concurrency rate, which is the
number of subscriber devices, such as settop boxes, that will want to acquire any
on-demand stream at the same time. With
the addition of premium channel content
available on demand and bundled inside a
subscription service, peak concurrency rates


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4M Homes / 400 CO = 10,000 average homes
Video Play Take Rate = 40% = 4,000 Video Subs/CO
2 TVs/Sub x 20% VoD Peak Concurrency = 1600 streams/CO
94% VoD at SD @ 2M/stream + 6% at HD @ 8M/stream
~ 4xGbps / CO
300 channels w/ 20% HDTV at 8M/each & 80% SD at 2M/each
~ 1xGbps/CO

experienced on Friday and Saturday nights

have already climbed to as high as 20 percent
of all set-top boxes in many U.S. markets.
network that is designed to deliver ondemand content to 4000 subscribers served
out of one central office with an assumed
20 percent peak concurrency rate requires
about 4 Gbps of capacity for the on-demand
service alone.
Because video, especially on-demand
services, can quickly consume much more
network bandwidth than the Internet access
and VoIP services, it is easy to see why the
network must be optimized for it.
GIFK<:K@E> K?< M@;<F J<IM@:< =IFD

What happens when demand rises above

the peak concurrency rate that was assumed
when designing the network and/or video
on demand (VoD) service capacity? If a
particular VoD server complex cannot
service a particular request, it may get
rerouted to another VoD server complex that
has capacity. If the network capacity over a
set of link(s) is exceeded, allowing too many
VoD sessions to be set up could cause a high
packet drop rate for nearly all of the video
streams. This will result in many subscribers
perceiving an outage.
Why? Video is very intolerant to packet loss,
in large part because it is highly compressed.
Losing a packet may result in the loss of
valuable encoded information and a visible
degradation of video quality. To achieve a
goal of no more than one visible artifact per
2-hour movie, the allowed packet loss rate
for video is 10-6. Assuming a random loss

>L@;< KF

pattern for video packets means that both
drops caused by congestion and drops
caused by bit errors on physical links
must be avoided or concealed.
Instead of allowing more video sessions
to set up than the deployed bandwidth
can handle, operators need a networkbased admission control that can
deliver a busy signal to the requesting
subscriber. While a busy signal is not
what the subscriber wants to receive,
the possibility of mass degradation of
the VoD service is much worse.
An intelligent solution could support
more sophisticated busy signals. For
example, if a service knows that streams
are ending soon, busy messages could
give subscribers choices such as a
delayed start of a VoD or an alternative
service offering.
E<KNFIB$98J<;# @EK<>I8K<; M@;<F

Performing admission control for the

VoD service, for example, is a key videoto- network linkage that can preserve a
high QoE for subscribers. The admission
control solution must be able to take into
account complex network topologies
that have redundant and load-sharing
paths in the transport network as well
as access link utilization and/or business
policies that may be enforcing other
types of constraints on the subscribers
service. To do this, the networks routers,
in coordination with policy managers
and on-demand servers/managers, need
to collectively perform an admission
control function called Integrated Video
Admission Control.
First, an in-path method performs
admission control for the complex core
and distribution network topologies
found in service provider next-generation
network designs. The solution utilizes the
Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP)
for in-path signaling, sent by the VoD
server or a component on its behalf prior
to starting the VoD session.
The RSVP message traverses the exact
path the VoD session will use, thus
tracking in real time any changes in
the complex network topologies in the
core and distribution layers. Along the
path, IP routers perform a bandwidth
accounting function, either allowing the
session or denying it if bandwidth is not
available for that VoD stream. Having

IP, or Layer 3 routing, present on every

network element from the VoD server
complex to the aggregation router in the
central office makes in-path admission
control possible.
Second, to prevent a video stream from
being sent to a set-top box if the access
link to a subscribers home doesnt have
enough capacity to carry the stream, the
VoD server or a network component in
the path mechanism will send a request
to an off-path component. The off-path
component may be a policy server, as


efficient way for an admission control

solution to decide whether or not a
new VoD stream should be allowed to
a specific subscriber and their videoconsuming devices.
D@K@>8K@E> 9IF8;:8JK
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Unlike with the on-demand service,

subscribers that experience a complete
outage in the broadcast service cannot
come back when the outage is over and
continue where they left off. Thus, the

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shown in Figure 2, that is keeping track

of the access network, which is usually
a simple and static topology. The policy
server can check to see if the access link
has enough unused bandwidth as well as
check business policies that may or may
not allow the stream to be supported, and
then either allow the VoD session or deny
it at that time.
Only using an off-path component to
perform admission control for the core
and distribution layers, where tracking
in real time any changes in the complex
network topologies is needed, is suboptimal. The combination of in-path
admission control with an off-path policy
server at the edge is the most reliable and

availability requirements for the broadcast

service are understandably high.
When the aggregation router is
configured as the Layer 3 edge device for
video, the distribution network can take
advantage of anycast support for a quick
failover of video encoders/streamers
in separate headend facilities. With the
anycast feature, you configure two or
more multicast sources that are sending
to the same IP multicast group (same
multicast destination address) and have
the same IP source address. IP multicast
technology uses a reverse path lookup to
determine which IP source is closest to
any particular PIM edge node.
The result is that the replication path


>L@;< KF

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aggregation routers to the core edge router

being recalculated to take into account the
change in location of the multicast source.
None of these actions involve the
subscribers video-consuming equipment.
The quick failover between redundant
broadcast encoders/streamers using the
anycast approach results in only a portion of
subscribers experiencing a brief disruption
to the quality of their broadcast while the
remainder of subscribers experience no
disruption at all.
While the example shows two sources with
presumably the same channel line-up, they
could be supporting different ad zones with
different content inserted. This solution
gives the greatest flexibility in failover design
while minimizing the number of subscribers
that might experience a very brief outage in
the event of a failover.

for a single multicast group can consist of

a separate multicast tree for each broadcast
encoder/streamer, in this case, splitting
the subscriber base between two headend
facilities as shown in Figure 3.

When anycasting technology is combined

with the ability of the network to detect
the failure of an encoder/streamer, routing
will result in the reverse path from the

linkages, plus enough bandwidth to support
a successful launch of VoD and HDTV,
can enable service providers to provide
video/IPTV services with a high quality of
experience to their subscribers.
David Benham is Senior Manager, Video/
IPTV Solutions Development, Cisco Systems

From page 11

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It is clear that IPTV services offer a
very attractive opportunity for telecom
operators to generate incremental revenue,
and retain subscribers that might be
considering triple-play bundles from
traditional TV competitors. IP Multimedia
TV, however, could provide these operators
the opportunity to take share from their
competitors by introducing value-added,
personalized multimedia services that other
providers simply cant match. Though it is
critical that these new services be delivered
reliably and in a manner that meets or
exceeds the expectations that customers

have become accustomed.

To this end, IMS-enabled network
elements allow providers to offer such service
assurance, and to derive premium value
from their network investments through a
tight integration with the IMS architecture.
These elements interoperate with the
IMS architecture via ITU-Ts Resource
Admission and Control Functions (RACF)
to provide bandwidth and QoS policing
and monitoring either on a per user session
or on an aggregate of user sessions. This
enables service control and transport to be
bridged thereby providing dynamic resource

allocation across transport networks and

achieving end-to-end QoS.
Clearly, the key to success is optimizing
the underlying infrastructure to support
all of these services while providing a very
high-quality user experience at an attractive
price point. By leveraging an IMS-based
core network, combined with an intelligent,
integrating carrier Ethernet and converged
optical/Ethernet technologies controlled
through RACF -- operators will be able
to meet the challenge of competing in the
emerging world of real-time multimedia
services. This combination offers operators
something that traditional TV service
providers cant easily replicate.
IPTV + IMS = IP Multimedia TV IPTV
the way it should be.
Rob Piconi is vice president and general
manager, Broadband Solutions,
Lucent Technologies.


>L@;< KF


K_\ @e[ljkipj E\ok

9`^ K_`e^1 @GKM
Savvy service providers are embracing IPTV as the winning
platform for delivering the latest revenue-generating
entertainment and communications services.
Christine Heckart, Microsoft TV, and Carl Rijsbrack, Alcatel

@GKM @J the next big thing in the industry.

As a network operator, can you succeed in

transforming your business model from
transport-centric to content-centric? What
models will prove most successful during
this transition? Perhaps most importantly,
when and how should you enter this market?

secure IP network over which all services

can be delivered. This is crucial because
it serves to fundamentally change your
operational costs over time. Since this is a
two-way network, it also provides you with
a competitive advantage over traditional
broadcast networks and contains the seeds to

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down the road,
consumers will
be able to view
from the guide in
a smaller picture
within the guide

Is now too soon, too late, or the right time?

The first step is to transform your disparate
voice and data networks into a single IPbased service delivery environment for
creating and delivering new video, voice and
data services.
Building IPTV capability into a network
allows you to deliver TV and video content
over a common IP network. And it allows
voice and data to be fully integrated as well.
That fulfills the promise at last of a single,

transform the entertainment and advertising

industries, as well.
So while the part of the acronym IPTV
thats most widely understood is TV, this is by
no means the most important element. The
shift toward all-IP-based communications
will not only change our entertainment
experience, but our entire communications
experience. It places users squarely at
the center of their own communications
universe and allows them to choose which
device is most appropriate at a given time.
As the content and advertising industries
have become better acquainted with IPTV,
theyre already beginning to see the real
opportunities for their businesses, from
improved security, enhanced content
packaging, more interactive programming
and advertising, and more measurable
business results.

create todays enhanced platforms. These

new, all IP-based systems are now being
adopted by the worlds largest and most
respected telecom companies, including
AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom,
and many others.
The IPTV industry has made remarkable
progress in developing a platform that will
drive the future of television and ultimately
meet and exceed consumers expectations.
It will give consumers greater selection of
TV content and services, tailored to their
individual tastes, as well as cross-device
connected entertainment services. Most
importantly for you, this platform is the
foundation for a dramatic service provider
business transformation that brings new
revenues, new profits, new business models,
and an entirely new relationship with
customers. The platform provides entry into
markets for content and communications
and can be expanded to include commerce
and community aspects, as well. We are
on the edge of a new frontier, and it is the
pioneers that will reap the largest rewards.
If there is gold in them hills, not to
mention the land grab opportunities, how
do you enter this market and initially take
share? And is there an opportunity beyond
just the share shift? Can we, in fact, find
gold? Can we increase the overall size of the
industry as we expand beyond basic content
into whole new offerings and business
The opportunity is significant, and the best
method for seizing this opportunity is to
think big, get started, and move fast.

@GKM @J I<8C KF;8P

First-generation IPTV services, often based

on ATM technologies, have been in the
market for several years and provided the
formative learning experiences needed to

K?@EB 9@>
IPTV is an underlying technology that
creates a whole new range of services to be
delivered to homes. The goal of entering

>L@;< KF

this market isnt just to provide a package
of TV services. It is really to provide
a connected TV experience. Weve all
heard about the triple play of voice, video
and data, but the real value comes when
service providers can deliver converged
services running seamlessly across a
unified service delivery environment.
There are a wide variety of converged
services that can be created as you mix
and match the underlying elements. And
since were thinking big, we should stretch
into new territory, like the integration
of commerce, communication and
community. Combined with content,
these are the four Cs.
An example: As your customer comes to
the end of a great movie they have rented
from your service, you can give them
the opportunity to buy the DVD or the
soundtrack, right from their TV. You can
offer them the opporutnity to record a
program from the cell phone service you
provide them while they commute home,
and then watch that recorded show from
any TV in the house, with advertising
appropriate to their interests. Today, as a
provider, you can connect people using
PCs and phones. With IPTV you can turn
the TV into a two-way communication
vehicle that provides your customers
a rich window into the lives of their
extended family and friends.
And as a provider you can link all these
together to help cement your relationship
with valued customers. Your customers
can send a home video of their children
straight to grandmas TV set from across
the country, or take a picture from their
cell phone while at the beach and send it
to their TV screen for immediate viewing
and they can even talk about it. These are
examples of converged services, and it is
one part of the think big vision of IPTV.
For the service provider, IPTV is an
opportunity to transform the business
model from bandwidth-based to
content-based services and applications.
It is a chance to deeply entwine voice,
video and data into rich experiences.
It is a chance to complement existing
pay TV experiences by monetizing
new commerce, community and
communications experiences.
><K JK8IK<;

Do you know the killer application for the

television? Its watchingTV.Mostpeoplereally

just want great content, great entertainment,

in a relaxed environment. In the United States
alone, the average American spends a few
hours in front of the TV set daily.


customer care, payment systems and the

service creation environnement, as well
as strategies for service packaging, value
creation, and entry into new markets.

will be able to
get caller-ID
on their TV

Weve painted a picture of what TV can

and will be with IPTV. But for now, its
time to frame that picture, hang it on the
wall, roll up our sleeves and get to work.
That work starts by nailing the basics.
First, you will need to go to market
with a better TV offering. Start with
a strategy for three critical types of
a network transformation and a business
transformation. These must work together
to bring about the total transformation
needed to survive and thrive in the next
decade. The service transformation
requires strategic planning of the
converged personal services you want to
offer and acquire the right content to do
it. You can also find third-party content
aggregators if you dont want to cut
individual content deals on your own.
Second, you need one IP network that
can deliver any type of service mix with
a great experience. This probably means
upgrading your network bandwidth and
converging disparate networks. Invest
early in your IP network architecture for
service orchestration between IPTV and
IMS service delivery, a strategic step to
prepare for a seamless user experience of
voice, data and video.
Third is the potential for business
transformation. This involves upgrades to

Recent consumer research shows that

a package of features that tie the PC,
the TV and the phone are much more
enticing to customers than a lower price.

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New thinking is required as the industry
moves into this new territory. Grabbing
share with lower prices simply starts a
price war and erodes the very margins
that will pay for the transformations
needed and the new innovations desired
by consumers. Focus on delivering
new value, not on lowering prices for
traditional packages. As tempting as low
prices may be, it is a short-term solution
and a long-term problem.

If youre a service provider and youre not

in this market yet, are you behind? Not
yet, but you will be if you dont move fast.
The market is evolving quickly. Todays
Continued on page 39


>L@;< KF


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Take nothing for granted, early adopters say
Jim Barthold, Telecommunications Magazine

JFD< K?@E>J you cant take for granted.

The dentist isnt lying when he says This
may hurt a teensy bit.
The federal government will step up and
help when a natural disaster flattens your
Video is just another IP application.
For this article, only the third point is
serious; the others are facetious. There is no
way that video is just another IP application
running on a telephone network.
Deploying IP video is a very large effort
that becomes more difficult as the network
becomes larger because the problems
tend to compound themselves, said Bob
Larribeau, program director for IPTV at
MRG Research.
MRG has identified several key areas

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that service providers must address when
provisioning an IPTV network:
The access and aggregation networks for
distributing the content;
The video headend and equipment for
dealing with the content;
Content protection, including digital
rights management for encryption around

broadcast content;
The home networks and set-top boxes.
K?< 8::<JJ E<KNFIB

If the carrier is not deploying fiber to the

premises a relatively safe assumption
the access network can be a tricky piece
of the video provisioning puzzle, because
twisted-pair copper, no matter how clean,
was never expected to handle videos high
bandwidth requirements.
Even if that copper is already carrying highspeed Internet over DSL, its not necessarily
up to the challenge of video.
Data is a best-effort attempt, so if
a packet of information is lost during
transmission, the system knows to resend
the packet. In the case of video, we cant
tolerate any lost packets because that would
show up as an anomaly on the screen, said
Bill DeMuth, CTO of northern Californiabased SureWest Communications, an early
service deployer.
Still, for the sake of argument, it seems as if
video should be just another IP element on
an advanced telco network.
It sounds like it ought to be easy enough
to do, but because IPTV or video is such
a bandwidth hog, it creates its own set
of problems, said Rick Vergin, CEO of
Chibardun Telephone Cooperative.
Chibardun, Vergin emphasized, didnt
have too much of a problem with its existing
copper infrastructure delivering signals about
6,000 feet to suburban and rural Wisconsin
customers over a VDSL network.
We havent found theres too much
problem with our plant, but some people
are going out 12,000, 18,000 feet (with more
conventional DSL products), and theyve
had some problems with reduced capacity,
Vergin said.

K?< :FGG<IJ 8CC I@>?K

That scenario the infrastructures good

enough to carry the content as long as you
provision the content correctly on that
infrastructure was a recurring service
provider theme.
Everyone likes to believe that the access
network is not important the copper wire
and provisioning it. But when you think
about it, they have to install new service
in new neighborhoods, said Dan Baker,
research director for Dittberner Associates.
While not everyone takes the copper for
granted, most believe its good enough.
Youre always going to have a line here
or a line there where you may have issues,
said Brian Eltom, director of marketing and
business development for digital interactive
video at Canadian carrier SaskTel. We were
quite fortunate in that our copper plant was
in pretty good shape.
Actually, Eltom said, most copper plant
is serviceable.
There are going to be cases where we have
to replace drops, but we would probably
have had to perform that work just for the
Internet or voice products, he said.
SureWest has approached the video
business from almost every angle: fiber, coax
and twisted pair. Its technical foundation
has always been to deliver two video streams
and have enough bandwidth left for at least a
megabit of high-speed data throughput and
Thats going to take about 10 megabits of
delivery, DeMuth said.
With those requirements in mind,
the operator must then determine what
percentage of the network can be fed with
10 megabits in the near term then expand
that to a longer term view accomplished
either by tightening up the network or

>L@;< KF

hoping that some of the new compression
technologies will get you the coverage,
he said.

Cavalier Telephone, a CLEC launching

IPTV on the eastern seaboard, uses
carrier network infrastructure primarily
from Verizon Communications and has
adopted the new compression technology
The Richmond, Va.-based carrier is one
of the first telcos to embrace next-gen
MPEG-4 over an ADSL2+ platform. The
combination gives the carrier 10 Mbps
to 15 Mbps over a copper pair and was
a catalyst for our ability to deliver this
service, said Andy Lobred, Cavaliers
vice president of product management
and marketing.
We feel like we have a convergence of
the network technology; a convergence of
the ADSL2+ technology as well as things
that are going on with respect to MPEG-4
in the video platform, he said.
As if that isnt enough, the carrier is also
eyeing some forms of copper bonding to
increase capacity even more.
coordinator at Rural Telephone Service
Co. in Lenore, Kan., agreed that clean
plant is only part of provisioning networks
to carry big chunks of bandwidth.
You certainly need to be doing at least
ADSL2+ because with 2+ youre getting
anywhere from 20 to 23 megs on the
downstream, Broyles said.
Since Rural consumes about 4.5 Mbps
per standard video stream, ADSL2+ is
plenty of bandwidth to deliver two viable
video streams and high-speed data.

a key piece of any IPTV offering

measurable quality assurance goes out
the window, Larribeau said.
QoS does not work when you go to video
on demand because youre sending unique
streams to the subscriber and your network
becomes dominated by video traffic,
Larribeau explained. That means there are
very few lower priority packets to discard,
not enough to discard when congestion
occurs and you have to start discarding
video or voice-over-IP packets. Thats not a
good situation and thats an issue in terms
of how these networks are engineered and
M@;<F ?<8;<E;

Cable companies have delivered video

since their inception and have always used
headends to receive, encrypt or otherwise
format and send out the video streams.
Carriers have had COs and switches.
Video, as everyone concedes, is a different
beast and a headend is not a CO.
Project Mutual Telephone in Rupert,
Idaho, evinces cables headend model
with its IP television system. It has a main
CO and a remote headend or satellite
ranch, of sorts, at its construction yard
about two miles out of town.
We pull video signals off a Simulsat
dish and a dish thats tailored to pull in
HITS (headend in the sky) signals. We

progress to migrate into the digital world,

he said.
Provisioning work within the headend
or CO isnt as complex as it once was,
or at least it doesnt have to be, said Dan
Prokopetz, vice president of software for
SaskTel International, the carrier-owned
equipment vendor.

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What you have to do is extend your
POTS provisioning processes into your
high-speed Internet ... and then you extend
it into your video, Prokopetz said. You
need one integrated platform that will
provision all these services, and, of course,
you have to mix VoIP into that as well and
whatever else comes down the pike.
Too many providers, he said, layer
one OSS on top of another on top of the
existing infrastructure in a vertical pile
thats sloppy and inefficient. Prokopetz
suggests scraping away the layers and
using whats familiar.
process and extend the base application out
to encompass everything else. If you can



The access network also must be

monitored closely before, after and
during provisioning. This is where
vendor-provided and generic cable test
equipment is extremely important,
Broyles said. We could probably do a
better job of using it. Without those,
youre just working in the dark.
Even then there are problems
because the copper network is loaded
with passive devices which you cant
interrogate or provision; you have to
have a guy go out there and hook it up,
Dittberners Baker said.
When it comes to video on demand

transport that into town via fiber optic

cable and that signal is transported out on
our local network, said Mike Tylka, vice
president and plant manager.
Of course, Project Mutual was already
in the cable TV business and had the
analog headend, and it became a natural


do POTS, you extend it into high-speed

Internet, extend it into video, extend it into
VoIP, extend it into whatever else happens,
he said.
?<8;<E; ?<8;8:?<

Another headend headache is just


>L@;< KF

starting to throb: getting MPEG-4 content
from satellite providers and mixing that
with formatted off-air signals. At the very
least this is going to require several hundred
thousand dollars of headend investment.
Were looking to NRTC (National Rural
Telecommunications Cooperative) and
SES Americom. Theyre going to do all the

channels, there wasnt overwhelming

demand for encryption, scrambling or other
video content security. Thats now becoming
a hot button for telcos provisioning IPTV.
Certainly we have encountered that on the
video-on-demand platform, [and] we are seeing
a few more broadcasters beginning to ask about
content security, SaskTels Eltom said.

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compression and converting the signals into
an IP signal then beam it up to the satellite,
which is going to beam it down to ILECs in
IP format, Vergin said.
The carriers must install an MPEG-4
headend to receive and retransmit the
satellite signals then spend another chunk
of change to translate local off-air channels
into MPEG-4 as well.
The cost of the headend is one of the major
barriers to small telcos getting involved in
this, Vergin said, pointing to an average cost

SaskTel is implementing a system

proactively that will deliver across-the-board
security for every channel even though
Eltom thinks thats overkill.
Today, because its a closed IP network,
we have some security and content controls
in place. We also have an audit process that
goes on at the router points in the city where
theres a check that looks at what a customers
channel subscription looks like and what
channels they are accessing, he said.
The problem is, IP equates to Internet and

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of around $300,000, about two-thirds of which
would be to get the local off-air channels and
convert them to MPEG-4.
While a grouping of disparate pieces, the
headend is driven by middleware that sets up
whatchannelsthecustomergets, saidBradEvans,
CEO and chairman of Cavalier Telephone.
We tied our middleware into our OSS
system, so were going to have flow-through
provisioning, where it will automatically set
up the channels the customer wants, flow
through to our DSL and loop orderings, and
set up the phone features, Internet features
and video features, Evans said.
Middleware also drives Cavaliers billing,
tying everything back to the base POTS
provisioning infrastructure.

In the past, except for a few premium

that throws a scare into content providers.

More and more content providers are
requiring encryption, Cavaliers Lobred
said, suggesting that its a good idea to use
an encryption software provider that has
a relationship with those who develop the
content. That helps move through some of
the hurdles with some of the content guys.

Provisioning the home, everyone agreed,

is the biggest IPTV hassle. With a number
of new players getting into the set-top, cost
shouldnt be a big problem for a situation
where every television set needs a box.
Outside that, though, the home is a free-forall battle zone.
The phone company can bring the IP
signal up to the household like they do
now for DSL [but] cant necessarily rely on

the inside wiring being as high quality as

it needs to be, said Jonathan Hurd, vice
president of broadband and media practices
for Adventis.
While phone companies spend a lot of
time making sure that the fiber or copper is
up to snuff, an old or badly connected home
network can stop the service in a finger snap,
and even a well-wired home is an added
provisioning expense.
Were still looking for cost-effective methods
to handle that, said SureWests DeMuth, whos
been delivering IPTV so long hes coined the
term IPTV-2 because were at the second
generation of IPTV in my mind.
Home phone lines could possibly have
been installed when AT&T was the phone
company. They work for phones and usually
deliver adequate high-speed Internet to
modems that sit near computers that sit
near phone jacks. Video is another story; the
television, unlike the computer, probably
doesnt sit near the phone jack.
If theres old coax in the house, maybe well
use some devices to utilize that coax, but in
some cases youre going to have to rewire the
house with Cat 5 wiring. That gets expensive,
either through additional labor or through
hardware, DeMuth said, warning, dont
underestimate the time spent in the house.
:?@CC@E> JK8K@JK@:

Larribeau agreed the home is a landmine.

Its a reasonable guess to say that half the
calls to the telco center on IPTV are going to
be related to problems in the home. Service
providers need to look very seriously at what
they can do to manage, or at least monitor,
the home network so they can quickly
resolve these issues and possibly even
anticipate them, he said.
Besides that, Hurd said, while most people
dont think of the computer hooked to
the DSL network as the phone companys
responsibility, a set-top box hooked to the
television belongs to the telco.
The user might hook it up incorrectly or
move it from one room to another ... and
break it, Hurd added. Then theres the
connection from that set-top box to the TV
where you get into things like ground loops
and interference with other video that can
cause degradation of the signal.
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Just as an overview, the network must be

provisioned to deliver top quality video
Continued on page 39


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Using IMS and IP convergence to deliver what the customer wants
Andrea Sorensen, Amdocs

<M<I ?8M< your phone ring when you are

right in the middle of your favorite show, at
that critical turning point in the show? You
miss the shows turning point, and when you
hang up from your phone call, well, youre
lost and dont know what is going on, so you
may as well just turn the TV off and go do
the dishes.
We are all increasingly busy, and
perhaps our busy lifestyle is due in part to
new communications tools that keep us
connected. However, as consumers, we
should be happy to know that the plethora of
acronyms out there -- IPTV, IMS, SIP, FMC
-- are also going to help us to relax and be
entertained on our terms in the future.
This provides excellent fodder for


voice, wireless and Internet. Search engines

like Google and Yahoo! are becoming
providers of converged offerings. Even eBay
has jumped on the convergence bandwagon
with their acquisition of Internet-voice
provider Skype. With all of these new
entrants, how do the traditional wireline
providers replace revenue and subscribers
lost to these competitors?
Wireline service providers have a strong
base to support not only the triple play and
grand slam offerings, but they are suitably
positioned to be leaders in convergence.
However, simply delivering these services
is not enough to differentiate from the
competition. Providers must deliver to
consumers what they want a grand slam


service providers as they move beyond

basic bundling and discounts and into the
feature-rich offerings that will come with IP
Traditional players in todays telecom
market are facing stiff competition from
all directions. Cable operators are focusing
on the triple- and quadruple-plays, moving
beyond traditional TV services and into

bundle of fully integrated services tailored to

meet their specific needs.
IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), a new
network abstraction layer based on a 3GPP
standard, should enable service providers to
do that and more. By unhooking services
from networks and devices, IMS will
enable service providers to roll out a killer
environment characterized by ubiquitous

access to blended voice-data-content service

experiences no matter the network or
device. Initially designed for wireless service
providers, IMS has recently been adopted
by the European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI) and CableLabs.
These announcements have significantly
strengthened IMS standing, practically
converting it into the only available roadmap
for reaching the new frontier of ubiquitous
communications and entertainment.
A vision of a future offering where IMS
and IPTV interwork, and convergence has
been achieved is shown in Figure 1.
Of course, the vision of IMS enabled IP
convergence will not be easily achieved.
Most analysts agree that real IMS will reach
significant adoption in three to five years.
However, this is something that service
providers can and are beginning to include
in their planning.
The journey to IMS and IP convergence
has significant challenges in the areas of
marketing, organization/business process,
and, of course, technology. One of the most
significant challenges is BSS/OSS. To ensure
successful delivery of the sophisticated
services enabled by IMS, service providers
must realign their business strategies to
focus on the customer and their specific
needs this is called adopting an integrated
customer management strategy.
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customer management. By adopting an
integrated customer management approach,
a service providers resources are aligned
around the customer, providing visibility
across all services supported by the IP
platform and insight into how and when
customers use their services as well as their

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personal preferences such as payment,
billing features and services. This creates
unlimited opportunities to leverage
the customer experience to maximize
value for both the service provider and
the customer, particularly in the area of
Marrying IMS and IPTV to deliver
bundled services in the future is
perceived to deliver greater value
and empowerment to the consumer.
However, these technologies need to
be implemented and rolled out in the
context of the BSS/OSS supporting
customers. Consider that the majority
of customers have had less than optimal
bundling experiences. For example, a
leading North American service provider
recently offered a highly attractive service
bundle that included fixed voice, wireless,
satellite TV, and high-speed Internet with
a common monthly bill. An independent
sampling of this service found that for one
customer, it took a total of three weeks to
switch from his existing service to this
bundle. During this three-week period,
the customer had over 21 interactions
with the service provider, including four
technician visits, more than six hours on
the phone with CSRs and seven different
welcome letters!
The problem: The service provider
operated along line of business silos
in which the organization structures,
business processes and front- and backoffice systems were all network-centric
and operated in isolation. As a result,
each line of business interacted separately
with the customer to configure, provision

and support its service without insight

or regard to the other services in the
bundle, or the customers behaviors and
preferences. This fragmented approach
meant that the service provider had
no insight into their customers and
any customer experience was merely
a by-product of the service providers
operating activity.
From the customers perspective, even
though they were actually only dealing
with one service provider, their perception
was that they were dealing with at least
four different companies. Any perceived
value of the bundle was negated by a
customer experience that was inefficient,
impersonal and extremely frustrating!
As well, such a clearly disjointed process
gives the customer the message that true
convergence is a long, long way away.

services and capabilities based on enabling
technologies like IPTV, IP convergence
and IMS, but they are also recognizing
the impacts on BSS and OSS, as part of
the overall delivery of true convergence.
Without this overarching strategy, ultimate
convergence will elude all parties.
Take the example outlined earlier the
consumer watching television. When the
phone rings, they pick up and miss some
(or all) of their show. In a truly converged
environment, enabled by IMS, ubiquity
will be achieved across the IP network,
and an integrated customer management
approach will deliver options to the
consumer. Firstly, the consumer may


not even be watching their show in their

living room. They could be watching
from their laptop as they sit in a coffee
shop, connected via the local hot spot.
When their phone rings, the person
calling may have dialed the consumers
home number, but the consumer is not
there. So follow-me functionality sends
the call to the logged-in laptop on the
advise of the consumer. The consumer
can then point and click to answer the
phone, but at the same time select the
option to have their show paused, or even
recorded, to be resumed after they hang
up from their conversation.
The same consumer could have selected
an option to send a message back to the
caller Hey, Im chillin, Ill call you later.
So, now simply being well connected
doesnt just mean more ways to find the
consumer, it means empowering the
consumer to manage up-time and downtime on their own terms.
Theconsumerisinfullcontrol. Aswehave
already seen in the market, it is not enough
to just rapidly bundle services together and
present a common bill. To achieve market
leadership, service providers must undergo
a significant business transformation from
legacy platforms and network-focused
business models to an agile, customercentric business model that facilitates
selling and buying in the supermarket
of digital, multi-media services and an
intentional customer experience at all
touch points true integrated customer
Andrea Sorensen is marketing manager,
Wireline & IP Convergence, at Amdocs



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Helping service providers redefine the end-user service experience
Jim White, Alcatel

K?< @E;LJKIP is undergoing a broadband-

powered competitive transformation. IPTV

completely changes the competitive landscape
for the broadband household. Users demand
a better, more empowered experience and
service providers must deliver it now or miss
the opportunity to enter the market with a
compelling service offering. But, the urgency
and complexity require a services integration
partner who translates user expectations
into game-changing services that are the
foundation for competitive transformation

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and who can help shift service providers
focus from managing networks to managing
the user experience and developing new
business models.
A services integrator is a partner who can
manage and implement a service providers
service-driven network transformation:
consulting with the service provider about
detailed service definitions and reference
solution recommendations, and ensuring that
the IP transformation is delivered on-time
and within budget via integration services.
Triple play represents the first global telecom
service transformation that supports a real

services integrator approach where services

definition, globally proven reference solutions
and integration services can accelerate the
transformation process.

Triple play represents both a mass-market

opportunity and threat for service providers,
completely redefining the residential
decision-making. Any service provider
with a revenue stream from either phone,
Internet or TV must re-think their service
offering to address this change. Many service
providers now realize that their business will
be completely different in five years, and that
their network must be transformed to drive
a new business direction.
The amount of associated change is
daunting and service providers are looking
for help. They need:
1. A service transformation that changes
the relationship service providers have with
their residential customers, from service
transaction-based (phone, Internet and
TV) to a relationship where the service
provider manages the communications and
entertainment experience residential users
experience at home and away;
2. A new network that supports massmarket IP services, fixed and mobile
services, customer specific configurations,
lower operating costs and proactive service
3. Business transformation that reduces
innovative services deployment risks and
allows new business models.
The market urgency and complexity of

triple play implementation means service

integrators need to demonstrate experience
in implementing new technologies such
as IPTV, IP multimedia subsystem (IMS),
broadband infrastructures; and flexible
architectures that leverage installed assets
and significantly shorten time to market.

User-centric triple play services represent

the first significant opportunity for service
integrators, but network transformations
can also start in other ways. For instance,
many service providers have taken their
own strategic steps to be ready to make
transformative network investments around
strategic service opportunities such as
fixed-mobile convergence and managed
communication services for small, medium
and enterprise businesses. Other service
providers initiate network transformations
as a prerequisite for new services by focusing
their initial effort not on any specific service,
but on achieving other strategic business
objectives. For example, changing business
cost structures in anticipation of regulatory
or market changes and enhancing business
support systems (BSS).
The services integrator engagement model
can facilitate the development of these
opportunities as well by focusing customers
efforts on their primary economic purpose,
which is to provide services to users that add
value. The reference solution for each situation
can adjust to each specific customer situation.
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In simple terms, services integration is

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an end-to-end customer engagement
process that includes three critical pillars:
services definition, reference solutions
and integration services.
Whereas a
systems integrator focuses on closing the
gaps between various systems, a services
integrator focuses on the services providers
service and provides the critical resources,
tools and experience to bring a strategic
new service, such as triple play to market.
Redefining the end-user service experience
with the right services definition includes:
Application development which focuses on
packaging the most important user attributes
Trend and service evolution analysis
to describe and shape long term service
requirements for reference solution
business case modeling)
Technical service description or the
translation of user requirements into viable
Reference solutions that anticipate the
services definition and network design
relationship to deliver the right service
experience comprise:
Flexible reference architectures
Product portfolio breadth to bring new
technology, standards and economics together
Specific technical knowledge to ensure
that the reference solution delivers on
Technology ecosystem leadership to align
partners around a common plan
Integration services accelerate and manage
the reference solution implementation and
Program management (plan of record,
technical requirements and specifications)
Vendor management and leadership
(critical project deliverables, managed
Service delivery expertise that brings
important implementation know-how to a
Portfolio integration to ensure that
the services integrator has leverage over
important solution aspects
Combined, these critical elements define
the services integrator role making the
services integrator the service providers
focal point for an end-to-end project.
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Global triple play-driven IP transformation

projects demonstrate that traditional
equipment vendors have many of the pieces

required to become a leading services

Services definition: Involvement in
defining the broadband industry and
application development expertise provide a
service evolution vision based on real world
implementation experience.
Reference Solutions: Flexible architectures
provide service providers with pre-validated
solutions based on product solutions that
use a mix of proven technologies and new
technologies that can shift the economics of
delivering new services.
Integration Services: The ability to provide
the critical new technical skills necessary for
new services, such as IPTV, along with assets
required to test and validate the entire end-toend solution initially exist inside companies
that invent, develop and implement these
new products inside networks.
The three pillars of the services integrator
role allow equipment vendors to engage
customers early in the decision process before

needs to understand the environmental

economics and conceptualize how a service
provider can operate services in a particular
way. The ability to bundle professional
services with technology and products allows
vendors to partner much more closely with
service provider customers.

they define the network transformation

required to deliver a strategic new service.
valuable time and money. A services
integrator offers foresight. While service
providers imagine their services vision
they can test these ideas against technical
feasibility, they can prototype services with
the latest application development tools and
they can model network costs to ensure the
economics line up.
Product portfolio breadth and deep
knowledge of key technologies enable
vendors to tailor reference solutions that
target service providers specific requirements
and concerns. A reference solutions architect

IPTV, Mobile TV and converged services.

They must offer a highly differentiated user
experience in order to establish a sustainable
competitive advantage.
The emerging services integrator role
provides an end-to-end focal point for
critical transformation projects. And, to get
there, vendors can build on their triple play
experience of translating user experience into
real network impacts, to help service providers
better manage their resources by shifting the
service providers focus from their network to
their end-user customers.
Jim White is a vice president of market
development inside Alcatels Global
Marketing organization.


The power of broadband to create new

business has never been more evident,
but its up to service providers to shed the
restraints of traditional telecommunications
and network boundaries and deliver the
most powerful user experience possible _
and deliver it fast.
ubiquitous worldwide, service providers
recognize that they must turn their attention
to moving up the value chain from being pure
connectivity and bandwidth providers; they
must also deliver value-added, user-centric
broadband applications and services such as



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The traditional emphasis on managing networks must change to provide the reliability, QoS and
always-on bandwidth availability essential for on-demand, prime-time IPTV broadcasting
Sameh Yamany, Ph.D., Trendium

:FDDLE@:8K@FEJ J<IM@:< providers

(CSPs) worldwide are either evaluating or

deploying IPTV to fulfill several promising
objectives. Regardless of whether the
revenue strategy is exploiting billion
dollar advertising opportunities, push
video on demand (VoD) and personal
video recorder/set-top box (PVR/STB)
telescoping; recapturing residential voice
customers, Internet access up-selling and
service bundles; or improving ARPU with
videophone, gaming and personal music
library premiums, the customer demand
is real. While equipment suppliers and
network operators race to identify winning
feature functionalities, more than 1 million
IPTV subscribers globally have already
validated demand-side opportunity with
40 percent growth in the first half of 2005
alone. Research indicates revenue potential
from services alone could reach $38
billion by 2009, which does not include
infrastructure investment. Regardless of the
individual operators motivation or medium
(copper, fiber or air), each of these CSPs has
something in common. Managing a complex
network to provide capable and robust triple
play video, data and voice presents key
operational obstacles that must be overcome
to keep customers subscribed.

Conventional television broadcasts delivered

over a transmission network maturing over
a span of 70 years have established viewer
expectations for near-perfect quality.
Prospective subscribers will compare IPTV
to the traditional delivery system and expect
the challengers quality and availability to
meet or surpass those associated with its
predecessor. Further, IPTV research has
shown that television viewers who encounter
viewing hindrances typically lose interest
immediately and switch providers rather

than report the incident, making churn a

serious issue. Significant operational factors
with the potential to negatively impact
successful service management include:
Packet Loss. When IPTV networks
become heavily congested, packet loss
tends to be more problematic than jitter, as
most receivers have 200 msec buffer sizes
sufficient for handling small variances in
packet arrival times. The resultant broadcast
quality degradation is related to the transport
protocol mechanism in use. Solutions
implementing UDP unicast or multicast
with MPEG-2 encapsulation can experience
significant image disruption when entire
frames of the video transmission are
dropped. TCP can be ameliorative for lost
and improperly ordered packets; however,
its packet retransmission delay can cause
the playout buffer in a subscribers receiving
STB/PVR to pause video playback.
Bandwidth Availability. If a network node
or router becomes congested, the outgoing
interface buffer can overflow and squeeze
the bandwidth delivered to a DSL, fiber or
cable access link. The receiving STB/PVR
will generally be impacted and the customer
experience will then suffer. When variable
rate codecs are used with a video broadcast,
temporary spikes in the bandwidth required
can introduce buffering instability for network
elements at both the source and destination. As
a result, unfavorable overflow and underflow
conditions can materialize and cause the
viewer to experience picture freeze, macro
blocking or jerky playback symptoms.
Encrypted Content. The IPTV architecture
incorporates a Conditional Access (CA)
element, which interacts with back-end
systems to determine if and when to encrypt
content and send keys to authenticated
subscribers. Broadcasted content is often
encrypted in real time to protect against
unauthorized use whereas VoD takes place

before being stored on a VoD server and

must be periodically re-encrypted to achieve
heightened content security. The variance
in proprietary Digital Rights Management
performance complexity for different areas
of the IPTV network, and solutions with the
ability to monitor encrypted streams and
correlate the impact have not yet evolved.
Codec Impairments. The difficulty of
isolating and measuring network and codec
impairments in the IPTV environment is
exacerbated by the variety of video encoders
and decoders currently in use and planned
for the future. While MPEG-2 TS is typical,
video payloads can be delivered using UTP
or RTP over UTP. MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264/
AVC) offers the promise of video payload
compression and delivery of DVD and
HD streams using less bandwidth. Each of
these codecs dramatically alters the amount
of time required to join multicast video
streams and receive the initial image from
a multicast group (Zap Time) and will
impact subscribers, particularly those who
live far from the CO or headend.
End-to-End (E2E) Manageability. IPTV
subscribers will expect service to work
around the clock. For broadcasts to perform
as expected, both the network infrastructure
and service delivery equipment must be
continuously available and performing in
accordance with specified service levels. The
IP network itself is not the only potential
impairment source. VoD and broadcast
servers inadequately provisioned to
support high densities of users during peak
viewing times can become congested and
lead to pauses in video playback after the
subscribers decoder buffers have consumed
all available stored data. The widely
heterogeneous and diverse number of
elements, network devices and application
resources complicates E2E manageability


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troubleshooting and impedes CSPs ability
to isolate root causes and network hot spots.
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Unrelenting subscriber demand is catalyzing

CSP awareness of IPTVs hybrid blend of
engineering-centric and viewer-centric service
measurements: an evolution of Operational
Intelligence (see Figure 1).
Traditional QoS network monitoring
solutions tend to be operations-oriented and
focus on important network parameters such
as delay, jitter and throughput. While certainly
critical to network health, these metrics have
little meaning to the average television viewer.
For this reason, increasing emphasis has
been placed on a higher-level measurement
abstraction commonly referred to as quality
of experience (QoE). Significant QoE
measurements might include the time needed
to switch IPTV channels, change Electronic
Program Guide listings, load a web page on a
non-PC device with an IPTV display or view a
long-form ad pushed to a PVR/STB.
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IPTV networks must be able to monitor

fundamental network parameters like delay,
jitter and loss rate, as well as server parameters
such as memory, CPU, I/O and general health

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VoD servers, active and passive probes, and

and statistical traffic analysis. These service
management platforms should be vendoragnostic and capable of normalizing SNMP,
TL1 or XML outputs to compute trends and
estimates of key QoE performance indicators.
To manage IPTV networks, operators will need
future-proof service management solutions
capable of summarizing lower layer transport
key quality indicators (KQI) across higher IP
layers to predict and produce aggregated KQIs
at the higher level.
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To match subscriber claims of poor quality

to the source of the problem, CSPs will
require intelligent root-cause analysis across
layers of the E2E service hierarchy through
intuitive GUIs that assist operators with
pinpointing the actual cause of impairments
in real time and provide a historical
perspective. To apply valuable insight
where traditional service management falls
short of IPTV expectations, this impact
analysis must be relationship-aware in that it
examines the nature of network relationships
before determining how the impairment
at a specific layer in the network hierarchy
impacts the service or application residing at
other layers of the hierarchy.

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states. There is a growing need for high-volume

infrastructure performance data collection
engines with the ability to extract service and
performance data from all IPTV infrastructure
including STBs/PVRs, home gateways (TR069 enabled), DSLAMs, LAN/WAN switches,

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Data collection and analysis sequences

yield genuine value only if a means exists to
integrate these immense outputs and display
the findings in meaningful and intuitive

ways. Practical systems should demonstrate

future-proof support for adapting to every
NMS interface in order to generate reports
measuring TCP Application Response Time
analysis, EPG selection intervals, Zap Time
measurements for live channel join/leave
and UDP multicast/unicast packet arrival
timing analysis. Reporting capabilities
should incorporate integrated fault and
performance depiction, with a unified
view of impairments combining events
gathered from fault management systems
such as fault correlation and consolidation.
Customized user specific and self-updating
heat charts should be displayed graphically
to empower the CSP to rapidly isolate the
service degradation and correct network
health before trouble ticket call volumes

Operational Intelligence functionalities

are emerging as critical components for
CSPs who recognize the inherent ROI from
reducing the time and cost needed to scale
IPTV service to thousands of subscribers
per day while reducing wasteful capital
expenditures tied to over-provisioning
bandwidth-intensive video service. The
ultimate goal is to reduce customer
churn by assuring QoE and satisfying
viewer expectations. Achieving this goal
mandates that CSPs have tools in place
capable of reducing costly outages and
service degradations, minimizing trend
Mean Time to Detect (MTTD), lowering
trend Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), and
isolating and removing hotspots. The ITPV
adoption curve is accelerating due to a
confluence of factors: video compression
advancements, increased fiber availability,
greater affordability for access solutions like
DSL and PON, computational and storage
technology advancements, and STBs/
PVRs that have validated VoD business
models. Fully unleashing the hidden
revenue potential of increasingly complex
IPTV networks requires changes in the
service management paradigm. The era of
Operational Intelligence promises to deliver
monumental advancements in rapid rootcause analysis, relationship-aware impact
analysis and the multi-protocol network
infrastructure layering capabilities essential
for triple play deployment stability.
Sameh Yamany, Ph.D., is senior vice
president product management and
corporate CTO for Trendium, Inc.


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Service Providers need to look beyond IPTV alone and bundle it as one
of many services. Adopting this strategy will help dramatically increase
broadband service revenue
Gary Southwell, Juniper Networks


providers facing
competitive threats from multiple sources,
IPTV promises to increase the average
revenue per subscriber, helping offset
diminishing residential voice revenues
and possible market share erosion. An
IPTV service alone, however, will not
differentiate one provider from another
in the long run. Rather, the ability to offer
a range of flexible, customizable services
will enable true differentiation, opening
up the opportunity to potentially double
service provider revenue.
By deploying a flexible, intelligent network
will be able to offer IPTV immediately
without compromising the ability to offer a
range of flexible and customizable services
in the future. A shortsighted architectural
decision may be acceptable for IPTV, but will
limit differentiation and hinder future service
development opportunities in the long term.
Network architecture decisions can
minimize the risk associated with
implementing and offering IPTV alone
and also potentially double revenue by
increasing service choice; improve time
to market; decrease cost; and reduce
customer churnall without resorting to
price competition.

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A flexible, customizable service bundle

begins with a broad menu of broadcast
TV tiers and on-demand options.
Combining this with VoIP services
and high-speed data provides a solid
foundation upon which new services can
be added. Unfortunately, if the provider
stops here, their service bundle is not
going to be significantly different from

other Provider offerings, leaving price as

the only possible differentiator.
It is the combination of services and
the ability for the subscriber to create
a customized bundle that appeals to
each consumer and provides true
differentiation. These services can be
broadcast television tiers and packages,
enhanced services such as video on
demand (VOD), integrated services such
as Caller ID on TV, or brand new services
such as video telephony and on-line
gaming (See Figure 1).
In addition, new services targeting
specific market segments can also be
a strong differentiator and strategy
for growing service revenues. For
example, hosted gaming services and
video-telephony services often appeal
to the twenty-something crowd, while
integrating home security and monitoring
can appeal to the traveler. Quality cellular
backhaul over WiFi appeals to the growing
segment of users ready to cut the wire
and go with only a mobile phone. Tens of
millions of small businesses and SOHO
workers are connecting through highspeed Internet connections today. Whats
unique is that these users are accessing
mission-critical applications that rely on
consistent timely delivery.
From ERP to on-line collaboration
and web services, to secure commerce
transactions, these users need more
granular data services that work with
higher consistency and reliability than
todays best-effort data services.
By segmenting the market, providers will
find a large mix of currently underserved
customers to target. Yet to maximize
profitability, any service offering must also

support these highly sought-after customers

on the same infrastructure.
;<GCFP 8E @EK<CC@><EK @G

Ensuring the best user experience requires

a multiservice network infrastructure
that can dynamically adapt to each
subscriber. Adding this intelligence with
IP routing enables the network to ensure
that enough bandwidth is available for
each service and that critical information
receives preferential treatment.
The intelligence can be controlled in
the Point-of-Presence (POP) or it can
be distributed further into the network.


Real-Time play
Multiplayer hosting
Streaming music
Streaming Audio

Productivity / Reference
URL Filtering
Home Monitoring
Financial, News, travel

Video on Demand
Pay per View
Digital Video Recording

Images, Video, data

Sports, Games, hobbies

Dinamic Bandwidth

Distributed Printing
Photos, Etc

Based on the requirements to implement

the former, the Broadband Services Router
(BSR) has emerged, which manages all
services for all users. As an alternative, IP
DSLAMs or so-called intelligent Ethernet
switches can attempt to evolve to provide
these intelligent routing functions in
a distributed fashion in the access and
aggregation network.

Voice (VoIP)
Tiered VPN
Personal Video
Fax Services
Video Telephony
Online Collaboration
Wireless Backhaul


>L@;< KF

The challenges of a distributed architecture are: entertainment services at night.
Managing numerous distributed devices
The centralized BSR approach makes
in every CO (instead of having fewer BSRs such service segmentation possible and
centralized at Metro POPs) significantly manageable, as the policy is applied at fewer
increases complexity to plan, provision and points rather than at thousands of DSLAMs.
operate the network. For example customizing The BSR, by queuing each subscriber
each device, capturing network usage separately, can keep subscribers from
statistics, and assigning QoS parameters for interfering with each other.
each service is far simpler when performed in
The dynamic bandwidth management
fewer devices in fewer locations.
capability of the intelligent BSR approach
Adding the required intelligence to every differs from todays more simplistic
DSLAM and switch adds considerable cost distribution overlay approaches that treat
and complexity to configure new subscribers each service separately and force the carving
or modify the services packages to which out of bandwidth to support each priority
they subscribe.
service. This limits the number of offered
Most smart DSLAMs will take years to priority services to just a few, limiting the
mature to provide the advanced service revenue-per-subscriber potential and forcing
management functionality.
all subscribers to take a one-size-fits-all
Any intelligent IP
DSLAM and aggregation
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switch solutions require
systems for provisioning
and management. This
single-vendor solutions
that prohibit mixing
best-of-breed access and
aggregation products.
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A network that centralizes

service and subscriber
carriergrade BSRs avoids the
above-mentioned issues of a distributed
architecture. BSRs become the service control
points where service policy can be set on a
per-service, per-subscriber basis. The devices
feature a built-in, scalable queuing system
that applies policy, marks the packets and
shapes the service dynamically to fit through
the access network local loop to deliver each
service with consistent quality.
BSRs can better react to service activations
and reshape services on-the-fly to fit the
defined service policy. The benefit is that
at any moment, all available bandwidth can
be allocated to any active service(s). When
TVs are off, all bandwidth can be made
available to the high-speed data services
and further prioritize the VPN services
versus instant messaging and peer-to-peer
file transfers. Time-of-day policies can be
set per subscriber, where the home office
users can prioritize particular applications
during the day and change priorities to

service bundle with no means to customize.

With an intelligent centralized approach,
access activity of DSLAMs and aggregation
switches entails fewer functions. Services
can be shaped to fit into existing ATM
infrastructures, thereby allowing providers to
move into the market quickly and selectively
upgrade the access network. Providers also
switches today, as opposed to waiting for more
complex intelligent DSLAMs to be ready for
production. The savings and reduction in risk
of a centralized architecture can be substantial.
TCO actually can come in at a fraction of that
associated with a distributed model because
of the delayed capital expenditure and the
large operational savings characteristic of the
centralized model.

The open architectural approach also

applies to service applications. Customer

satisfaction requires a consistent level of

service delivery to ensure a high quality
experience. Offering a broad mix of services,
in which many services can have a high
desired priority, can cause problems when
multiple high priority services contend for
the same limited bandwidth. When services
of similar priority contend for limited
bandwidth, the BSR may not have enough
low priority services running to a particular
subscriber to accommodate additional
capacity. This condition impacts all services
to that subscriber.
The industry recognizes this trend,
and network vendors are working with
application vendors to solve this problem.
The result, shown in Figure 2, is an
open service policy manager that allows
applications to query the
policy manager before
setting up a service
requires a published
set of APIs and use
message exchange such
as SOAP. The policy
manager tracks the
by interacting with
the BSRs as to what
services are active at
any time and how much
bandwidth is available
to every subscriber. The
policy manager then
can allow or block the application from
setting up a new service connection,
infrastructure solves the long-term service
bundle differentiation dilemma, enabling
subscribers to select the desired service mix
in their service bundle and prioritize those
services via a self-provisioning, web-based
service portal. The centralized BSR provides
choices in the access network and timing of
required net upgrades, lowering TCO and
reducing customer churn. The combination
of the BSR and the service policy manager
creates a means of consistent service delivery
even in conditions of similar service priority
overload that can double the potential
number of revenue generating services sold
per subscriber.
Gary Southwell is the director of the IPTV
Program Office at Juniper Networks.

>L@;< KF


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The ability to provide real-time, flexible billing, provisioning
solutions will be critical to the success of many service providers
as they enter new markets
Renata Silva, Siemens


service providers throughout the world
are offering IPTV services and other home
entertainment content to stand out from
the competition, boost revenues and retain
customers. The pressure for new revenue
opportunities is at a fever pitch as cable
companies are now offering competitive
telephone services in addition to expanding
cable entertainment packages.
IPTV, according to telecommunication
experts, is the new battlefield for gaining
the residential customer base of the
future. More interactive entertainment
and communication options pay-perview, high-definition programming,
video conferencing and distance

learning, for example will surely capture

consumer attention. However, the real
winners of the new residential services
dollar will not likely be the operators
with the swankiest technology offerings,
but those who can deliver and interact
with customers without hitches. In other
words, the smooth provisioning and
billing of services.
This will be particularly challenging
for IPTV services, especially when the
greatest value proposition of IPTV is
consumer choice -- putting an end to
one-size-fits-all entertainment packages
of the past. This will put tremendous
emphasis on support applications. While
entertainment and communication

choices grow, home users will continue to

want simple provisioning procedures and
easy-to-follow billing rules. Along with
more choices, they will expect to be able
to activate and deactivate new services
perhaps even on a daily basis.
assure the correct delivery of services with
minimal internal complexities. There are a
number of considerations service providers
should make when exploring the backoffice software applications that support
subscriber and service provisioning and
charging, and manage other components
such as IPTV set-top boxes.
Providers are already loaded down with
plenty of things to do in setting up new



>L@;< KF

customers for services. For example, they
need to configure bandwidth for subscribers,
put in place set-top boxes in customer
homes, set up the in-home cabling, provide
and manage the necessary gateways and
provision the package of services selected by
the subscriber.
To simplify the process, providers should
be able to manage subscriber, service and
set-top box provisioning from a single API
toward the IPTV solution, so they dont have
to deal with several workflow provisioning
processes in different network elements.
This way, providers can easily assure the
consistency between their IPTV offerings and
their Operational Support Systems/Business
Support Systems (OSS/BSS) databases.

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One way to achieve this simplification is to

have the middleware back-office application
as the unique home entertainment subscriber
provisioning point. The advantage to this
approach is that it gives the service provider
a single interface that is easy to integrate
with its OSS/BSS. This single API, when
supporting all provisioning fields, enables the
service provider to do everything it can do
manually using its own OSS system. Another
advantage is that the provider does not need
to change its provisioning process each time
the solution is upgraded. This interface
must support several provisioning scenarios
including manual, self-provisioning and
mass provisioning.
In fact, the self-provisioning feature
is becoming more and more important,
as it enables a subscriber to activate and
deactivate services by logging on to a selfservice Web portal on his television screen
and make selections with a simple click.
The screen would show which services are
available and how much they cost.
Automating the provisioning function
in this way can save the service provider
time and money. It can boost service usage
as well, as users are able to easily try new
features without having to pass a complex

subscription process.
Set-top boxes also need to be simple to
configure. Set-top-box auto-provisioning is
an increasingly relevant feature as it enables
the subscriber to activate automatically all
his services with the first STB connection,
without manual intervention from the
service providers customer care assistants.
After the box is installed at a subscribers
home, the subscriber is able to immediately
access services on his TV after inserting a
personal identification number (PIN) using
the remote control. The subscriber can
use the PIN number issued by the service
provider to automatically provision the settop box, but also to rent movies, set parental
controls for TV programs and movie ratings,
and perform other personal configurations.
When problems arise with the set-top box,
the service provider must be able to perform
diagnostics and, if possible, fix the problems
remotely using a software tool that performs
this function. This eliminates the need for
the service provider to retrieve the box from
a subscriber home, make the necessary
repairs and then return the box to the
subscriber each time a problem comes up.
Set-top box remote diagnostics and repairs
can help providers keep operational costs
extremely low and simultaneously provide
better customer service.
I<8C$K@D<# =C<O@9C< 9@CC@E>

Billing for home entertainment services is

another critical issue for service providers.
Charging for home entertainment such
as on-demand content is quite different
from the current pricing models for voice
communications or Internet access. Voice
services are usually based on per-minute
charging; for example, five cents per minute.
Internet service generally involves flat fees.
Home entertainment, on the other hand,
often involves charging on a per-use basis,
such as when a subscriber accesses a payper-view program. A service providers
billing system needs to support the most
appropriate charging models associated
with each kind of content, whether its
subscription-based fees (mainly for basic
IPTV service, premium channels, Internet
access); or event charging (video on demand,
pay-per-view, walled-garden content).
The billing system should support postpaid and prepaid charging, and real-time
price information between the subscriber
and service provider for event-based
services such as video-on-demand is a must.

For example, when a subscriber selects a

video, the provider immediately shows the
subscriber information on the associated
charges and requests authorization and
accepts the charge and enters a PIN number,
the service provider begins streaming the
video, and the system generates a transaction
record. This is all done in real time so that
the billing process and prepaid charging can
be performed efficiently.
Not all the service providers billing
systems available today support this kind of
interaction. For instance, many of the legacy
billing systems used by providers are not
equipped to support real-time charging for
event programming such as pay-per-view.
Service providers must ensure that their
billing system is capable of real-time
interaction, and that it allows them to adapt
pricing to a particular target audience. Many
service providers will charge different prices
depending on the content, or use different
pricing models for the same content
depending on the subscriber.
When the subscriber base achieves a
critical mass, owning a flexible rating system
will also enable service providers to set
promotional fees depending on the timeof-day, content type or even by content
characteristics such as movie director or
main actor. The IPTV/home entertainment
charging system has to be able to support
that level of flexibility.
The ability to provide real-time, flexible
billing solutions will be critical to the success
of many service providers as they enter
new markets such as IPTV. As subscribers
change services through self-service portals
operated by service providers, they will want
to view billing trends and see what impact
changing services will have on billing.
The provisioning and billing functions
are vital for service providers looking to
launch new home entertainment services.
How well providers handle these functions
will go a long way toward determining how
successful they are in these exciting new
business opportunities.
that enable a variety of provisioning options
such as self-provisioning, and real-time,
flexible billing, service providers will enjoy
lower total cost of ownership and a higher
return on investment.
Renata Silva is product line manager, home
entertainment, at Siemens. She specializes in
OSS/BSS issues.

>L@;< KF


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Telecom providers with rich IPTV service creation
platforms will be the masters of their own fate
Phil Thompson, mPhase Technologies

;LI@E> @KJ history, the telecom industry

weathered a great many upheavals. Every

new technology brought new competitive
players to the market, challenging
incumbent operators and driving change
in core networks and business models.
We are now living through a new period
of change in the telecom industry.
Convergence of networks led to blending
of telecommunications, media, content,
information and entertainment. Telcos
are facing eroding average revenues per
user (APRU), aggressive competition,
and increased subscriber churn. Cable,
satellite operators, and even utilities
companies are offering voice services
and Internet access, in addition to their
traditional services. New VoIP operators
like Vonage and Skype are driving prices
further down. Everyday innovative
products combined with novel network
services are being introduced satisfying
the consumers demand for content:
Google Video, personal video players,
video broadcasting on the web. What
does it take to succeed in this new
world? What lessons can we draw from
the past? What worked elsewhere in
the world? Early attempts to deliver
real-time streaming video over fixed
networks date back to late 1990s. Back
then, a few companies offered solutions
for different network infrastructures.
These deployments were motivated by
extending reach of a cable provider to
serve DSL customers, or experiments in
delivering additional services. The first
prototypes of Telco TV systems were
proprietary central office platforms that
often required special network interface
installations and wiring at subscriber

premises. Existing access technologies

barely supported necessary bandwidth
for video delivery. To deliver a highquality user experience, the technology at
the time was extended by each vendor in
a different way. Remember, this was the
time before multicast was built into the
DSLAM, QoS was barely being discussed,


It almost seemed like magic that any of

these systems actually worked. As the
urgency to find new revenue heated up,
service provider disparately sought new
services. IPTV held great promise. Better
service support than the cable company
would be the ticket! And all the vendors
were offering a vast array of applications,

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DSL line impairments were not well

understood, and some vendors were still
delivering CAP-based systems!
During this time, data equipment
vendors did not recognize the demand
of delivering hundreds of UDP streams
to thousands of customers, reliably.
Business cases were thrown away as the
deployments became frustrating lessons
in system integration, video processing
and network engineering. The center of
activity was with the engineering staff.

open toolkits, custom user interfaces, and

integration with voice services. While
the technology issues were understood,
the challenges remained, as equipment
vendors were still learning. In addition,
service providers suddenly needed new
skills, like acquiring and protecting
content. The early efforts were niche
successes and failures, due to limitations
of existing technologies, and lack of
technical, market and business synergy.
But the experiences of pioneer telcos



>L@;< KF

who ventured into unknown IPTV territory
were extremely beneficial in pinpointing
the crucial issues for the success of future

Despite all challenges, early technology

adopters warranted the future of IPTV.
Today telecom providers can deploy
interactive TV subscriber services quickly
and cost effectively.
1. Evolution of technology
We are now at an inflection point in
technology adoption. The technology
works: encoding rate and access networks
can deliver a quality user experience. The
embedded processors in set-top boxes are
fast enough to deliver an engaging user
presentation with advanced features. Back
end systems leverage the proven technology
to provide full time system availability at
assured service level.
But even today technology can represent a

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major hurdle. Video can place high demands
on network infrastructure, especially as
the number of channels and subscribers
grow over a large geographical area. Each
technology decision affects the total system
performance. Dont jump to use unproven
technology, no matter how cool it might
be. The best deployments are those that start
with a small step, with mature technology,
and build on a solid base.
2. Making a Business Case
Starting with a business case is important,
though it may prove to be challenging. Cost
estimates vary dramatically from $500 to
over $2,000 per subscriber. Each new service
can add expenses, such as per-subscriber
licensing fees, which have to be traded off
with the possible revenue. Some carriers,
reporting on their experiences, indicate that
a minimum of 10,000 to 20,000 subscribers
are needed to make a business case. But
there are deployments as few as 2,000 that

have stemmed the revenue loss for a small

telco competing against a cable company. In
parts of the world, IPTV is being deployed
to raise company valuations as they move
into private ownership.
3. Design it for Everyone
DSL, Internet access, email, hosting
services target an audience of pretty savvy
subscribers. It is tempting to focus on this
group with computer-like user interfaces on
TV, sophisticated content search and sort
tools, toolbars, notifications, and menudriven designs. While good for the geek
in the family, watching TV is a universal
experience. Avoid the temptation of throwing
technology at subscribers; deliver content
the way they want to access it. Design for the
Living Room Experience.
4. Content is King
The Internet owes its success to availability
and diversity of content. Luckily for telcos,
the availability of digitized media and
entertainment content exploded over that last
decade. Telecoms can extend the notion of
content to include infotainment channels.
Telcos should expect to invest in producing
local content, even if it is as simple as local
weather, school lunch menus, or high school
sporting events. Telcos should examine local
demographics for communities of interest
that have content they would like to share.
Such unique service offer is a powerful
source of differentiation for telcos.
5. The Focus Shifts
Good technology is an essential component
to building a system, but it is only one
component. Excellent sales and marketing
can create a whirlwind sales behavior,
building sales quickly by word of mouth.
Telcos should consider special offers and
discounts to spur service use. If allowed
by the content provider, consider hosting
community events demonstrating IPTV.
The focus is shifting from technology being
a barrier to success to a service provider
becoming an entertainment company with
great marketing.
6. Open Standards
When selecting an IPTV system, it is
essential to take a close look at the internal
architecture and communications protocols.
Often providers are looking to redesign
the user interface, or develop new features
themselves. Open standards are the key
to rapidly creating highly personalized
and compelling services for premium
subscribers. Many vendors build their
systems on standard platforms: HTML,


JDBC. Telcos who expect to build on
top of these platforms must be prepared
to think through user scenarios, feature
interactions, and invest in tools and
testing. Sometimes it is better to start off
by building specialized portal content for
custom services, than by redesigning the
EPG, which is already optimized.
7. Interoperability
One thing that remained unchanged since
the days of early IPTV deployments is the fact
that end-to-end systems are complex. From
head-end, to middleware, to access, to set-top
box they combine hardware and software
from multiple vendors, who adhere to
multiple standards. Internal interoperability
testing of separate IPTV components
performance for seamless video delivery
is technically challenging, expensive and
prohibitively time consuming. The solution
comes in pre-tested, certified configurations
from selected vendors. Vendors experience
and knowledge of telecom requirements is
essential for successful integration of IPTV.
8. Start Small, Align, and Grow
IPTV services are more likely to succeed
when telcos start small, align with subscriber
requirements, and then grow. This approach
allows service providers to quickly
determine the winning mix of potential
service package variations to maximize
profitability of future deployments.
Some companies now begin to offer prepackaged, complete IPTV starter system
kits for up to 1000 subscribers, designed
to help telecom providers jump-start the
market for revenue-rich video services
while minimizing capex risks. These
affordable, scalable pre-configured singlecabinet IPTV systems are thoroughly tested
and certified, and designed for immediate
deployment and rapid time to revenue.

Change is inevitable. The telecom industry

has morphed in the past and now must
morph again. The operators who embrace
new developments, will gain the chance
to influence and control the way those
developments affect them. Operators who
equip themselves to quickly meet changing
customer needs will be the winners.
Telecom providers with rich IPTV service
creation platforms will be the masters of
their own fate.
Phil Thompson is Executive Vice President,
Product Management, mPhase Technologies.


>L@;< KF


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The real lesson for service providers is evolution and pricing
Tom Nolle, CIMI Corp

K?<P J8P content is king, and its pretty clear

content delivery is a major focus of providers

developing new revenue, of equipment
vendors justifying new deployments, and
of content providers trying to gain access to
new markets.
While its reassuring that content seems
to be the darling of these groups, its also
troubling because content might become the
victim of competing agendas.
With content, the network is the
middleman, a mechanism to deliver an

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experience whose value the consumer must
set, based on material generated by a group
of producers who may have other content
delivery strategies to balance.
For this reason, we must take a dualistic
view of content, from the top and from
the bottom, to see if the perspectives meet
usefully in the middle.
K?< ;<D8E; J@;<

Visual content (e.g., television, video, movies)

has been a rage with consumers since the
days of Edison. Sight is the most powerful of
all senses, capable of introducing the richest

experience into our brains. But the days

when a flickering silent movie could shake
our emotions (at least in a positive way) are
gone forever. Even television is changing
under pressure from:
Time-shifted viewing;
Mobile content;
Personalized content; and
A la carte channel subscription.
K@D< J?@=K@E>

The FCCs latest report on television

competition shows that viewing hours have
increased, but more homes are equipped
with personal video recording capability and
are exercising it to time shift viewing.
Time shifting not only undermines
the notion of broadcast, it undermines
traditional advertising as a revenue stream
by letting users skip ads. Some advertisers
and agents are already changing their
formats so the ads still get a message across
when theyre played in fast forward.

The popularity of mobile content, both in

the form of download-and-store formats
(e.g., the iPod) and the streaming-to-amobile-phone form promoted by Verizon
and others, shows consumers are pulling
content out of the traditional in-home rut
and taking it on the road.
A user on the road is obviously not home
to view traditional content, and the ability to
consume content while mobile could reduce
audience size by creating other options.
Increased sales by DVD rental companies
such as Netflix and increased popularity of
cable video-on-demand services seems to
show a shift from reliance on broadcast for
content to personalized content.

As network performance improves and

movie download times are reduced, its
very possible more users will defect from
broadcast to a form of personal when-andwhat-you-want video.
8 C8 :8IK<

Pressure from the FCC to consider a la

carte channel subscription by consumers
is threatening cable companies and the
less popular channels at the same time by
eliminating the cross-subsidization of special
interest programming by more generally
popular material.
This could reduce the number
of channels available for selection,
undermining the channel multiplication
mechanism of competition that has
developed between cable companies and
satellite TV providers.
These consumption issues are creating
their counterparts on the production
side, largely in relation to how markets
are expanded, how current channels of
distribution are protected, and how to pay
for content.

The wheres the money come from point

is perhaps the most pivotal for content
providers. In a recent panel discussion by
content moguls at the IPSphere Forum
meeting in California, industry executives
told providers that content creation was
expensive and there had to be some
assurance of a return on investment.
In the past, video was largely multisyndicated and there were many ways a
content producer could hope to profit.
In the age of personalization, will content
providers be pressured to grant exclusive


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distribution? If so, the exclusive distributor
may have to front some money to cover
costs or guarantee a minimum revenue
stream. Obviously that means figuring out
how revenue can be generated.
The industry has had two distinct
models of revenue generation for content:
the pay-as-you-go model and the adsubsidized model.
Motion pictures traditionally have followed
the former strategy and television the latter,
though both groups have shifted somewhat
over time into the alternative space (e.g.,
HBOs popular Sopranos series and studio
release of films to broadcast television, paid
by ad revenues).
For the pay-as-you-go producers, the key
issue is getting in front of more potential
payers: That means getting more service
providers to offer for-fee content delivery
or more use of the Internet as a means of
getting content downloaded.
What the content providers would like to
see is a war between cable and carrier, with

If the ad has to be tuned to the consumer,

how do you decide who sees what, and
how is the ad linked directly to the rest
of the content?
There are a variety of emerging strategies
where ad links are embedded in content
and the specific content is then inserted
as the content is delivered, but not only is
this a more complex approach to content/
ad mixing, it may be impacted by issues of
consumer privacy.
How do you target an ad without
knowing your audience, and how do you
do that with so many watchdogs trying to
restrict what consumer information can be
collected and stored?
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A final issue on the revenue side is the simple

matter of who gets paid. Content deliverers
pay content providers, presumably. The
consumer pays content deliverers.
Where does the network fit in? Most
people who want content today likely will

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both sides differentiating their services by
more video on demand or store-for-play
For this group, the challenge is digital
rights management, because the producers
are looking for additional market conduits
and not to replace the ones they have now.
Fortunately, the IPSphere panel and other
industry developments, such as the DirecTV
offering of broadband video downloading
directly to a PVR, seem to show that the
content producers are getting comfortable
with the notion of video downloading or IP
delivery of video.
The ad-based model of content funding
could actually benefit from personalization
because ad value is highest where the ad can
be targeted at the specific market segment
most likely to consume the product.
The problem with the broadcast
paradigm is that everyone sees everything,
and consumers who become accustomed
to tuning out irrelevant ads may become
adept at tuning out all ads.
The issue of how to insert a targeted
ad in on-demand material isnt as easy
as it seems. You cant just stick the ad in
with the content, or you lose the custom
targeting benefit.

seek it from either their television provider

(e.g., cable, satellite or LEC) or from a portal
player such as Google or Yahoo.
If the broadcast model is in danger, does
that mean the momentum shifts to the portal
guys? If so, what happens to the network?

How can carriers help bring these sides

together into a single business model?
The IPSphere panel seemed to show that
the content and network worlds werent
that far apart.
In fact, some content producers
advocated a walled garden approach,
telling the service providers they shouldnt
get hemmed into a pure transport-andconnection role. That position would
certainly resonate with the carriers, but it
doesnt cover all the necessary bases.
It may be that the biggest issue for the
network content delivery is the net neutrality
debate. The FCCs position is that DSL is
an information service and not subject to
wholesaling or unbundling, the same status
enjoyed by the cable companies for their
broadband data service.
So far, neither group has done anything
to impede other players access to Internet

consumers, but there is a general view that

if common carriers are going to deploy the
high-quality, high-bandwidth networks
needed for streaming video delivery, theyd
certainly want to charge for it independently.
Thats the real lesson, and issue, of content.
Consumer demand is still evolving. Content
provider attitudes are still evolving.
The access providers will have to deploy
billions of dollars in equipment to modernize
their networks to support even standarddefinition video in streaming form. Will
they do that without a clear return?
No more than the content producers will
produce the stuff without such an assurance.
Remember, content providers said they
wanted ROI. So will content deliverers.
The problem is that theres a tightrope
to be walked here. Even if the FCC and
Congress permitted access providers to
either withhold premium bandwidth from
competitors or charge a significant premium
for it (say 25 percent or 50 percent), the
likely result would be to induce competing
players like the Yahoos and Googles to shift
to a store-for-play download video strategy
that doesnt require additional QoS which
could cut the carriers out of the whole
content pie.
Maybe nobody visits your walled garden. On
the other hand, if carriers charge no premium
for premium bandwidth, those Yahoos and
Googles will turn them into plumbing.
The content lesson seems simple: extremes
wont work. You cant expect investment
without return, but you cant expect return
without some pretty tricky pricing policies.
In the long run, the question for
providers may be whether its easier to
find the sweet spot in QoS pricing or to
simply become a portal player of such
importance that you control user eyeballs
yourself...or to buy one.
The FCC may take the next critical step in its
deliberation over the proposed AT&T/BellSouth
deal. In the past, the FCC has used these mergers
to get providers to agree on conditions that
would otherwise be difficult to enforce.
Well have to watch how the deliberations
play out to see if recent mergers and
acquisitions will impact the future of
Tom Nolle is the founder and
president of CIMI Corp.
This article was reprinted
from the April 2006 issue of
Telecommunications Magazine

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From page 17

In the future,
who have
IPTV via
their service
could enjoy
camera angles
of a sporting
event at once

entrants are not only capturing mindshare

in the marketplace, they are gaining firsthand experience about the realities of this
important competitive transformation. Can
you afford to be left behind?
One way to move fast is to select a complete
IPTV service delivery platform that
incorporates all of the required elements of
a TV delivery solution. By having one IPTV
platform, service providers can quickly roll
out services that are integrated and secured
from the point of content acquisition to
delivery on consumers TV sets.
Moving fast can be done by leveraging
installed assets and partnering with service
integrators who have implemented the IPTV
solution. Experience and understanding
of the service experience and network
transformation can make all the difference
to get to market fast and effectively.

Choose an IPTV system based on open

standards so you have the flexibility to build
or incorporate next-generation hardware,
applications and services from a variety of
vendors over time. Having an open standards
environment will ensure that innovation
can proceed rapidly, further differentiating
IPTV from legacy video services on the
market. When that happens, consumers will
be the best IPTV marketers by spreading the
message via word of mouth.
=@E8C K?FL>?KJ

As popular as TV is today, it remains an

unconnected island of technology in the home.
For the better part of a century, the images on
our television screens have been chosen for us
and broadcast into our homes on a one-way
basis. But that is about to change.
IP, the same technology that changed the

value and function of the PC, will have the

same impact on the TV screen. In fact, IP
networking and software technology will
help spark more revolutionary change for
television in the next five years than weve
seen in the previous 50 combined.
You will be able to bring the world to your
customers living rooms in new ways, and
they will be able to take their living rooms
to the world. If youre a service provider,
you can be on the leading edge of this new
market opportunity and transform your
business in the process. Now is the time to
think big, get started and move fast to ensure
your business is not left behind in the biggest
opportunity to hit the services industry since
the Internet.
Christine Heckart is general manager of
marketing for the Microsoft TV division.
Carl Rijsbrack is vice president of marketing

From page 20




Jim Barthold is senior editor of
Telecommunications magazine.


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For service providers and OEM players, hybrids will deliver more reliability and fewer
customer service calls, having a significant impact on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates

@E K?< mid-to-late 1990s, the promise of

technology to and in the home created high

expectations about what form and function
the home network of the future would take.
Its safe to say there existed some fairly
heady expectations that the influx of
broadband Internet and other services
into the home would spur a renaissance in
development of a wide variety of connected
in-home solutions.
entertainment devices, in addition to white
goods and home systems, the home network
was going to bring Metcalfes Law into clear
focus for the average consumer. The value of
data and content coming into the home would
be magnified as more devices, platforms, and
home and mobile systems could access it.
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To date, the uptake of home-networking

solutions has reflected the value consumers have
assigned to the connectivity of devices at home
with a twist. A key takeaway from the rapid
adoption of home data-networking equipment
since 1998 from 2.5 million households to
nearly 25 million at the end of 2005 (see Figure

broadband sharing mechanism is just the

first of several stages in the evolution of
home networking. Both consumers and
broadband and applications carriers will use
connectivity for such applications beyond
shared Internet.
For consumers, shared multimedia content
(e.g., music, photos, video) from both home
computers and other storage platforms will
drive adoption of digital media adapters,
either stand-alone or integrated with another
platform such as a set-top box.
For the carriers, the deployment of
home networks is seen now as a service
differentiator and a means to promote
customer loyalty. However, carriers will seek
to monetize their CPE deployments by tying
them into additional services, notably voice
and multimedia. Expect to see them deploy
residential gateways as part and parcel of
their next-gen voice services and multiroom video applications.
As the telcos in particular become more
aggressive in offering music and video
services to supplement their broadband and
voice offerings, they will seek residential

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1) is the very pragmatic purpose these
connectivity solutions have and continue to offer
for the vast majority of U.S. households.
Although the industry is quite keen to
sell next-generation, home-networking
equipment to link home computers to
consumer electronics platforms (i.e.,
multimedia networks), the main benefit
to consumers remains the ability to access
broadband Internet from multiple locations
in and around the home.
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The use of a home network largely as a

distribution of this content.

Beyond attracting new customers and
retaining their existing customer bases,
and development dollars to determine how
connectivity inside the home can be leveraged
for services other than data connectivity.
The move away from simple (though not fullproof) data networking solutions is leading the
service provider community to consider the
requirements for next-gen, home-networking
solutions based on some key applications.
ISPs are investigating connectivity for
entertainment applications (i.e., streamed

video from a set-top box to multiple

televisions inside the home) and multimedia
applications, which involve streamed
content (e.g., audio, video, images) among
home computers and consumer electronics
platforms (PC-to-stereo for distributed
music; PC-to-TV for displaying digital
photographs, videos and other content).
Finally, voice services, including VoIP, and
the integration of mobile telephony into the
service mix likely will dictate the types of
CPE and home-networking solutions that
are employed.
For example, service providers must
consider if and/or how they will integrate
voice applications with home-networking
equipment. Furthermore, they will have
to consider the requirements for homenetworking solutions, including factors
such as throughput, QoS and coverage. In
other words, will the solutions in place today
provide for a user experience that is as close
to headache-free as possible?

The demands by service providers (including

players in telephony, broadband, and
television services) for networking solutions
that can meet todays needs for data networks
and their plans to provide a host of services to
their customers will dictate a move to hybrid
networking solutions that incorporate both
wired and wireless components.
Specifically, service providers are demanding
that the home-networking solutions they
deploy meet the following parameters:
Consistent throughput;
Consistent coverage; and

Service providers are spending a great deal

of time developing market requirement
plans that will dictate their home networking
plans. Some convey very specific needs for
networking throughput, indicating that
(consistent) speeds of at least 25 Mbps are


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an absolute necessity.
Other service providers havent yet defined
their throughput requirements, other than
to indicate that a home-networking solution
should be able to handle multiple streams of
data, voice and video.

applications and platforms.

Parks Associates found a singlemindedness among industry leaders in
broadband and television services, chipset
development, consumer electronics and
advanced CPE to adopt hybrid solutions:

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use, at minimum, Category 5 UTP cabling for

voice and data traffic and RG-6 quad-shielded
coaxial cabling for video signals).
Structured wiring as a backbone is growing
in prominence, particularly for new home
construction. U.S. home builders report
that significant percentages of their homes
are being pre-wired with structured wiring
systems, and Parks Associates estimates that
more than 10 million U.S. households will
have a structured wiring infrastructure in
place by the end of 2008.
That total is somewhere around 10 percent of
but that figure will grow significantly as both
consumers and home builders alike recognize
the benefits of pre-installed, robust homenetworking infrastructure.

Because service providers are still

uncertain about the order in which their
next-gen services will be deployed (at what
point, for example, do telephone service
providers deploy IP-based multi-channel
video offerings?), the home-networking
solutions they offer will have to be scalable.

Service providers want assurance that

content can be accessed from multiple areas
of the home. They are skeptical about relying
entirely on a wireless solution that may not
provide this consistency of coverage and have
indicated that hybrids of wireless and wired
networks hold a great deal of attraction.
Service providers do not want to be the
primary point of contact for customers upset
that video on the television is of poor quality
or that voice transmissions are choppy.
The home-networking solution(s) that
service providers embrace will have to
account for QoS for many different kinds
of content. Given the overhead that wired
solutions provide in terms of throughput
capabilities, they are seen as a necessary part
of a home networking configuration.

No single home networking solution is

going to prevail as computer manufacturers,
consumer electronics players, and service

wireless and wired solutions combined in a

single system. As one major service provider
put it succinctly: Dont box us in by forcing
us to choose only one networking solution.

Over the past two years, Wi-Fi has emerged

as the networking standard of choice. In
early 2005, Wi-Fi products constituted
roughly two-thirds of networking sales and
a significant base of the home-networking
products deployed to date.
To consumers, the benefits of Wi-Fi
networking products are self-evident: They
allow home computers to access broadband
Internet connections and shared resources
without collocating the PC directly next to the
router or modem.
In addition, the cost of Wi-Fi networking
matures in an expanding consumer market.

The market for providing next-gen, homenetworking solutions is wide open, and Parks
Associates is evaluating the prospects of a
number of different solutions, both wired
and those with no new wires that are vying
for market share as backbone solutions.
The wired solutions include the high
quality, reliable cabling systems being
installed in newly built and renovated homes
as structured wiring systems (which typically

Each of the three wired backbone

contenders coax, phone line and power
line has a significant opportunity for
success. For example, coaxial solutions are
being positioned for multi-room, video
distribution solutions that take advantage of
the influx of DVR set-top boxes that cable
and satellite TV service providers are using
as key differentiators.
With the advent of IPTV services, video
distribution in the home will become
mainstream in just a few years.
Service providers have also shown a
partiality toward twisted-pair phone line
solutions in the home, because they are
familiar with them. Not only will phone line
backbones be considered for applications
such as distributed data and voice, they are
also under serious consideration as a video
networking backbone.
Finally, power line solutions have become
far more reliable, and they will be touted for
their performance and ease of use.
Hybrid networks are promising solutions
because they offer end users a great deal of
flexibility, performance, and significantly
enhance their data, voice, multimedia and
entertainment applications.
For service providers and OEM players,
hybrids will deliver more reliability and
fewer customer service calls, having a
significant impact on customer satisfaction
and brand loyalty.
Kurt Scherf is principal analyst and vice
president of Parks Associates.
This article was reprinted from the April
2006 issue of Telecommunications magazine