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    Attraction Attraction Document Transcript

    • A SUPPLEMENT TO TELEPHONY MARCH 2008 IPTV Telephony’s guide to TM WATCHING THE NEXT GENERATION OF VIDEO IPT V has been ear ning good reviews, but is it the service and its potential, agg ressive pricing, or the Uncertonain escape from cable that has customers smiling? Attracti QUALITY ISSUES MURKY Measuring the customer experience still a challenge SQUEEZING COPPER New efforts drive up bandwidth for FTTN networks
    • Between 2005 and 2009, Source: Multimedia Research Group IPTV subscribers will grow from 3.7 million to 36.9 million. Why risk your business with an IPTV novice? More and more, customers in diverse markets are turning to Scientific Atlanta for the products, systems and professional integration services that create IP next-generation networks. • IPTV headends for a future-friendly, flexible foundation. • Industry-leading MPEG-4 AVC compression for superior video quality. • Network Management Systems for outstanding monitoring and control. • A comprehensive line of IP set-tops to deliver advanced services to subscribers. IPTV. HD. VOD. Quad-Play. We can show you how. Learn more at www.scientificatlanta.com/iptv ©2007 Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • CONTENTS March 2008 FEATURES 6 CUSTOMERS TELL ALL By Sarah Reedy. IPTV’s toughest critics — its users — weigh in on the good, the bad and the ugly of the television offering, and quality service tops their requirements for an enjoyable experience. 10 EYE ON QOE By Carol Wilson. Customer quality of experience is the challenge for IPTV providers looking to compete with cable and satellite, and more proactive monitoring measures may be the solution. 14 REINVENTING COPPER By Ed Gubbins. Though fiber has grabbed many recent headlines, equipment vendors are focusing on several new ways to boost the bandwidth speeds of existing copper for cost-conscious operators. 18 METRICS As IPTV rollouts continue, forecasts for equipment revenue and subscrib- ers are looking up, as is the potential for more telco TV growth via access technology already in place. telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 3
    • Copyright © 2008 Tellabs. All rights reserved. The following trademarks and service marks are owned by Tellabs Operations, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries: TELLABS®, TELLABS and T symbol®, T symbol®. “I’VE GOTTA BE CONNECTED. AT WORK, AT HOME, EVEN ON THE TRAIN.” Royale, 30 INSPIRE ROYALE—WITH TELLABS® The world has evolved. Today, a street artist/Montessori teacher/t-shirt designer like Royale demands the same connection as a high-powered business exec. But how can you deliver the most flexible, reliable connection to millions of complex customers? Only with Tellabs. Our comprehensive suite of mobile, home and business solutions means that you can help each customer live a more efficient, more creative life. So now Royale can upload pics on the go, stream videos for her students, or download movie marathons. When backed by Tellabs, Royale’s connection can expand to her needs—not limit her potential. inspirethenewlife.com
    • LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The consumer view W hether you invent new technology, Because IPTV is still just TV to most con- deploy new technology or just write sumers, it’s even more important that the TV about it, like me, it’s hard not to get service looks and behaves at least as well as caught up in the newness of it. By the time the existing cable, satellite or broadcast offer- DSL had been deployed commercially in my ings. IPTV technology companies and ser- neighborhood, I had been writing about it for vice providers alike have been saying this for eight years. So when the topic first came up some time. in a casual conversation among friends, I was But as we explore in this issue, saying it and overflowing with information — none of which delivering it can be two different things. Con- anyone wanted to hear. All that mattered to sumers aren’t always prepared for the eight- them was that DSL was faster Internet that hour installation process that can come with didn’t tie up the phone lines. IPTV, and they certainly don’t want to hear Voice over IP is very much the same. The from customer service that the wiring inside teachers at my daughter’s high school got VoIP their house is causing packets to go astray and phones about the same time my office did. degrade their picture quality. They didn’t care that it was VoIP, just that they The burden of bringing any new technol- had cooler phones. ogy to market is doing it with the kind of cus- Now comes IPTV into a broader market- tomer service that sets realistic expectations place — it’s finally hit the Chicago area, cour- and delivers on promises made to the greatest tesy of AT&T — and it’s the same old story. extent possible. Consumers look at the television and see, well, In the early days of DSL, telecom compa- television. It will be some time to come before nies shot themselves in the foot with customer they start seeing other things. service. They have another chance at getting When they do, it will be the features they it right this time around. That would be some- already understand that will have the greatest thing worth talking about. attraction. I personally believe whole-house digital video recorder service will be the next killer app, but that’s because I’ve had a two- room DVR for more than two years now. Talk to those who don’t yet use the service — still more than half of the U.S. market — and they Carol Wilson don’t always understand the magic. cwilson3@telephonyonline.com telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 5
    • The view from the living-room couch As far as customers are concerned, Alan Weinkrantz, on the other hand, it’s more about the TV than the IP. will admit he’s not the typical user. An AT&T customer for nearly three years, Quality service remains Weinkrantz’s almost entirely IP house features a home theater with a 2Wire the killer app. [ BY SARAH REEDY] set-top box (STB), digital receiver, 51-inch Sony high-definition televi- R ad Feuerhelm is your average television customer in Olathe, Kan. The sion (HDTV), Slingbox and Apple 60-year-old retiree enjoys watching recorded movies and appreciates a TV, along with a Samsung 28-inch crisp picture on his big-screen TV that makes him feel like he’s a part of flat panel and Bose system set up in the football game. He’s not ancient but not exactly young, he’ll tell you. When his daughter’s room. For about three his grandfather was given the chance to invest in American Telephone & months, Weinkrantz even had both Telegraph for a quarter a share, he declined, saying AT&T would never catch Time Warner’s service and U-verse on and make it across the “Indian Nation.” Now, as the telephone company’s installed in his home. While he owns brand has crept into Feuerhelm’s home through his landline telephone, high- a public relations firm representing speed Internet service and television set, he’ll also tell you that he’s a satisfied several technology clients, he has no customer. He likes the IPTV service because the guide is intuitive and record- allegiance to AT&T. Rather, track- ing his favorite shows is simple. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” he said. ing his experiences with the telco 6 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • has become a hobby of his of marketing incentives that might have gone and the topic of his blog, along with the package deal to move from your 3screens.net. cable package to IPTV?” “I’ve had three ‘ah ha’ Most customers will admit that they are moments in my life doing unaware what infrastructure is delivering their this,” Weinkrantz said. TV to their home. Or, if they do know, they don’t “One was realizing that really care all that much. As one customer put it, I had a TV signal going “cable is cable.” For a telecom service provider, through my home and this false perception exemplifies the precarious that my TV in my house situation they are in: Match the quality, service has an IP address. That is and features of cable TV, but offer consumers a interesting. My second ‘ah compelling reason to switch. ha’ moment was watching “The customer has relatively little interest in a Coldplay concert in HD understanding all the details involved and all A technician installs a Motorola STB for a U-verse customer. AT&T over IP. That was pretty the hoops the provider has to jump through to released an updated STB with cool. And the third ‘ah ha’ do whatever it is they are doing for them,” Dorio more features last November. moment was having Apple said. “The customer is just basically interested TV in my house disrupt- in the benefits. If I’ve got TV on all the time when I want it, and I’ve got the Source: 3screens.net ing AT&T — me handing variety of content that I think I’m interested in and is appropriate for me and it’s Apple $3 for a movie rental priced relatively well, I’m not sure as a customer if I care if it’s coming over IP on a separate bill, using AT&T’s net- or down from a satellite or over traditional coax.” work but not going through them.” Perhaps the only time customers are acutely aware of the infrastructure is While these are ‘ah ha’ moments when it is being installed over the course of two to eight hours. A scanning of that Feuerhelm might never have, the consumer blogs confirms that a customer’s level of satisfaction can be affected experiences of these different custom- right off the bat based on the installation process and its often-unmet promises. ers illustrates an important point for For example, residential areas are not always wired to accept broadband into IPTV providers. It doesn’t matter how the home. Unlike with quick phone installations, the wiring of homes for IPTV many channels, features or applica- — especially older ones — requires the integration of many different elements. tions a telco can add. In the end, all While telcos might not be able to predict installation times, Dorio said that their that really matters is how customers job is to explicitly communicate the possibilities. The same applies for the actual perceive the value they are getting features that are available over IPTV when a consumer subscribes. While 40 HD every time they hit the couch and channels, games, digital video recorder (DVR) and interactive elements might be grab the remote. available from a service provider, the offerings typically aren’t ubiquitous due to In fact, the average customer may the logistics of a particular region, neighborhood or even house. find it hard to separate satisfaction “There is a disillusionment due to the lack of expectation-setting,” Dorio with the IPTV service itself from what said. “But also, customers don’t exactly know what to expect, and given the Phil Dorio, a partner with CFI Group opportunity to over-expect, a lot of customers do that — particularly with new and head of its telecom practice, calls technology.” the “positive halo” of free goodies According to a SureWest spokesperson, the IPTV pioneer created a short and incentives that come along with video for its customers and call center representatives that takes them through subscribing. Because IPTV is still in the step-by-step process of what may happen during a home installation. its early days, service providers are Because SureWest’s infrastructure is fiber directly to the home, additional wir- inclined to pull out all the stops to ing in older homes often is needed to ensure customers receive the service’s acquire customers and build their full benefits. The goal of the video is to manage the expectations for what subscriber base. installers may face. “In terms of customer satisfac- “It is a slower process getting it rolled out because it is brand new,” Dorio tion, I think a lot of people who have said. “In a lot of cases, the telecoms have underestimated the amount of the product are quite happy with it,” time it would take to do an installation. They are getting better at that. … Dorio said. “But the question would It’s not that they miscommunicated, they just didn’t communicate enough be, how happy are you outside of the with the consumers signing up about the potential day they would have to very aggressive bundled price that stay at home with the installer as he or she installed new jacks and ran new you’ve received and the other sort wiring and so forth to the locations where they wanted television.” telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 7
    • THE PROMISE OF IP WHILE A GOOD-QUALITY, reliable television viewing experience is still the No. 1 requirement for most con- sumers, the biggest telco advantage remains in the IP network. The nature of the infrastructure allows IP providers to integrate services, take advantage Source: AT&T AT&T uses Motorola and Scientifc Atlanta STBs with of Internet partners and add interac- Sigma Designs processors for its U-verse service. It tive features that are not feasible over cable. As more expects to ship STBs with newer chipsets in 2009. applications become widely deployed, IPTV provid- ers are counting on them becoming visible on cus- down to the corner, we couldn’t get it. tomers’ radar and serving as another differentiator They never did explain why.” in the battle between satellite, cable and telco. Multiple times, AT&T market- ers would quote a price for the ser- In addition to serving as an Internet portal that vice, fill out the paperwork and then offers Yellow Pages functions search and games on come back only to say it just wasn’t demand, IPTV service offers a variety of applications. available in his neighborhood yet. ■ AT&T’s U-bar, available in select markets, offers After two months of this, Feuerhelm customizable on-screen stock quotes, sports high- asked the technician for an explana- lights, local traffic and weather information. tion. When the tech couldn’t offer a ■ Whole-home DVR service, which is expected satisfactory one, Feuerhelm called this summer from AT&T, will allow STBs to access a supervisor who assured him he’d video content from a DVR STB in another room. have the service within the week. ■ Photo sharing on a TV is possible through Flickr Feuerhelm, angry with his cable pro- or an embedded middleware application. vider for upping prices and adding ■ Voice-over-IP service allows users to view an additional charge for his beloved call histories on the TV; display, screen and NFL channel, was willing to wait for forward calls; and enable “do not disturb” AT&T and had the service in place and international call-blocking options. before the following Sunday. ■ With Cinema Center, movies can be purchased from Feuerhelm’s experience is not all Amazon and trailers can be viewed prior to purchase. that unusual. Dorio’s neighborhood ■ Cellular integration allows users to remotely was in line to have the technology configure channel favorites on a home TV. put in place last year. With the pave- ■ Although not yet available, a Web cam feature ment dug up and wires halfway in will let viewers in different locations watch the ground, Dorio thought he’d be live events via switched digital video. enjoying IPTV within the month. Two weeks after they began, how- ever, AT&T was out of there as fast as it came — only torn-up ground and O ver at Feuerhelm’s home in Olathe, the installation process was a breeze. filled-in holes remained. Dorio is still The technician even spent two additional hours ensuring Feuerhelm waiting on his IPTV. knew how to navigate his new interface and work the remote control. While slow to get IPTV off the Getting to this point, however, took months of confusion and deflected ques- ground, AT&T has made promises to tions from AT&T. reach 30 million homes with its fiber- “[AT&T’s] box was right across the street from my house,” Feuerhelm said. to-the-node network, adding 1 million “We tried for about three months to get it, and they kept saying it’s not available customers by the end of 2008. Verizon, in my area. I said, ‘How could it not be available in my area when you dug up which sells a hybrid radio frequency/ my yard to put the cables through?’ IPTV product, has stated plans to “It took them three months before they were finally able to connect me,” he deploy its FiOS TV to as many as added. “It was just right across the street. It was the strangest thing: The people 18 million users, up from its current two houses down got it, the people across the street got it, but from my house consumer pool of 2 million. 8 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • A lthough IPTV seems to be difference between cable, satellite and telecom is most likely to arise through catching on in most markets where it is offered, the reason is not necessarily the IP infrastructure. ‘ competitive pricing and solid customer service. A trained staff of technicians and customer service representatives can make or break a service, IP or otherwise. When AT&T began its largest IPTV rollout in the Chicago suburbs in late ‘‘ Consumers sign up for the service January, Steve Mitchell, vice president and general manager for AT&T Illinois, largely because of price promotions said the company cannot afford a bad customer experience right now. “We want or bundling, and the quality of the a controlled environment,” he said. “It is not yet available everywhere yet, so peo- TV viewing experience still trumps ple may get grumpy. We just can’t rebound from a bad customer experience.” any advanced features that carriers might offer. Most average consumers do not even realize that features such The customer has relatively little interest as AT&T’s U-bar, Yellow Pages search functions and games are available. As in understanding all the details involved such, HD content is surpassing features and all the hoops the provider has to as the most significant differentiator. In response to a Telephony Unfiltered jump through to do whatever it is they blog entry, U-verse customer Paul are doing for them. The customer is just Simon commented that for someone who has never seen HD offerings via basically interested in the benefits. satellite or cable, U-verse looks pretty —PHIL DORIO, CFI GROUP good. But he added that his previous Time Warner HD signal was of much Dorio said that customer satisfaction can be driven down significantly when better quality with fewer issues such consumers have to make sense of a multiple-page bill, often interacting with a as shaky background images, color customer service representative in the process. incongruity and fading. “Almost assuredly, that first bill you get is for a month in advance and a pro- “We have an occasional picture rated month, and if you’ve got a bundled price where you’ve got not only your freeze/skip, and our DVR STB needs IPTV but also your high-speed Internet and voice service and maybe your to be reset every few days, although wireless all rolled up into one bill, it is a very confusing sort of bill,” Dorio said. we haven’t had the recording prob- “The telecom providers have not done a great job in educating their own call lems that some users have reported center staff around how to tease apart the bill from the big bundled price and on the U-talk and U-verse users mes- effectively communicate what all the charges are for customers.” sage boards,” Simon wrote. That said, Dorio pointed out that most evidence suggests telcos and satellite On the other side of the coin, companies are doing a better job with customer service than cable companies. Milwaukee U-verse customer Carol The cablecos bring “a lot of baggage” and are known for their year-over-year Strong sees HD as the service’s best price increases. When paying a premium, people expect premium customer ser- feature. While she has seen some vice, which typically is not the case with cable, he said. Essentially, bad customer problems with tiling and color degra- service is exacerbated by the fact that, as the incumbent, the cableco is unlikely to dation, she doesn’t mind the interrup- build out its infrastructure or update its network. tion. She understands working out the Outside of interactions stemming from problems with the service, telcos glitches of a new service takes time. have the opportunity to make a positive impression during everyday interac- “The other features are pluses and tions. Weinkrantz recommends IPTV providers equip their service technicians things to do once in a while, but for with coupons, extra remotes and instructions to promote the retail locations. me it is TV and my programming,” “To me, the story is not about who has more HD channels than you do or price Strong said. “HD is more important differences — pricing will always be pretty competitive,” he said. “It goes back to than features. I watch everything I the real issue of: How do you enhance the customer experience, and how do you can in HD. I am just awed by it.” reduce the cost of service calls by remotely doing things you can’t do on cable?” Debating glitches in quality and reli- The answer to enhancing customer experience may lie partly with more enter- ability is inevitably an endless circle. tainment features, partly with allowing interactivity on the TV set, partly with For every positive review, there are decreasing prices and partly with adding HD — the whole package. At this point, three negatives, and vice versa. While however, most customers have indicated that what’s most important to them is new features and more HD content the broader picture of how IPTV service providers can make life easier, more are ways to retain customers, the real efficient and, above all, more entertaining. ● telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 9
    • Is quality job one? Video quality can make or break IPTV service, but providers may need to think harder about how to ensure they can provide that quality. [ BY CAROL WILSON ] I PTV providers know they must cost, and they are not quite sure what it is,” Schultz said. “Management ought provide a quality video experience to budget a per-subscriber allocation of $3 to $10 as a way of making sure the to compete with established video [quality of service]/QOE infrastructure grows and expands with the footprint players such as cable and satellite, but of the architecture.” knowing for certain what each indi- The good news, Schultz said, is that there are many options for monitoring vidual customer is seeing has proved QOE, and more companies are entering this market. The bad news, accord- to be a bigger challenge than service ing to multiple industry sources, is that while standards for monitoring IPTV providers might have anticipated. networks are emerging — in the U.S. from Alliance for Telecommunications In fact, a recent survey of 12 IPTV Industry Solutions and the DSL Forum and globally from the ITU — there is no providers by Multimedia Research single standard for doing this and so no guarantee of multivendor solutions. Group, commissioned by Symmetri- That leaves each IPTV provider to determine its own strategy, which is com, found that in more than 90% of difficult, Schultz said. “The biggest challenge, or at least one of them, is to cases, service providers first learned understand what your needs are going to be based on your services, not just customers were having problems when today but in the future,” he said. “What we try to do is map out a road map. If they called to complain. Letting cus- you are doing basic or intermediate services today, where might you be going tomers be canaries in the coal mine, so in the next three to five years? How does that impact your architecture — the to speak, is risky on multiple fronts. quality of service/quality of experience architecture?” First, unhappy customers can create Video is much more susceptible to problems than voice data, a reality com- higher churn rates, something telcos pounded by the amount of new equipment being deployed for IPTV services can’t afford. In MRG’s survey, 77% and the very high customer expectations that exist, said Gary Croke, director ‘‘ said video quality is the main reason of marketing for Symmetricom, which makes for customer churn. Second, the cost end-to-end video monitoring solutions. of customer service goes up with the The last thing “Video can react very differently to a net- number and severity of complaints. we want to do is work situation than would other services,” Gary Schultz, author of the MRG Croke said. “Ten milliseconds of information report on the survey, believes the alter- roll a truck when loss in a data service is virtually undetectable. native is investing more money up in the problem is There won’t be a service impact. In [voice over technology that will enable IPTV com- IP], 10 milliseconds is 90 bytes of data. Most panies to proactively monitor the cus- power within VoIP standards for failover are 50 milliseconds. tomers’ quality of experience (QOE). the home.’’ But 10 milliseconds of [high-definition] video “Not very many companies are —JAMES PLAYER is 10,000 bytes of data. My user is going to see budgeting in this area — it is a hidden SUREWEST [that loss] in a huge way. If I am running voice 10 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • 38.75%Home/customer and data on my network and it premises equipment is all running well, the minute I put HD video on there, I’m 18.5% Access network going to see problems I never knew I had. That is what is creating some of the chal- lenges for delivery of video over the Internet.” 11.75% Core and metro network As providers deploy new equipment, there always will be kinks to work out, Croke said: “This prompts the need for Source: Symmetricom/Multimedia Research Group doing a better job in some of this monitoring effort and build it in from the start and not make it an afterthought 15.67% for IPTV service.” S Headend ureWest Communications, an IPTV pioneer, places Cricket monitors from IneoQuest at each point in the network where the video sig- nal is handed off, beginning at the headend. 14.89% Other, including home wiring “We monitor at every point in the network,” said James Player, network engineering manager for SureWest. “We monitor at the headend to make SOURCE OF IPTV QUALITY PROBLEMS sure the content providers are providing us with the best quality of picture, because if there’s some- thing wrong, the consumer will see it and REASONS FOR HIGH IPTV assume it’s our fault. Then we monitor in CUSTOMER SUPPORT CALL VOLUMES the core of our network and every hop out to the customer.” 77.8% At this stage, the cost of probes is too high to monitor in the home, Player said, even though that is where many problems occur. The wide variety in the quality of home wiring has led many IPTV provid- ers, including AT&T and SureWest, to 55.6% install their own Cat-5 wiring in homes when possible, even if this leads to much Source: Symmetricom/Multimedia Research Group longer installation times. Sometimes, however, installation of new wiring isn’t possible or desired by the home- owner when it can’t be hidden easily in an accessible crawl space or attic, Player said. “In that situation, we use [Home Phone 22.2% Networking Alliance] over the existing wir- ing,” he said. The problem is that HPNA has to be done over virtually flawless wiring to deliver a good IPTV signal, Player said. Service When problems become chronic, quality Changes SureWest will put an IneoQuest probe in the problems to service Billing Other home to diagnose the problem, he added. “We put a probe out there and see if 12 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • 15% Video blackout 9% Audio silence 9% 6% Video blurring Source: Symmetricom/Multimedia Research Group Video color problems 4% Audio noise 11% Video noise 13% Audio/video sync 16% Video freeze 2% Other TYPES OF IPTV ERRORS REPORTED 15% Video macro-blocking there is any packet loss or drops, due to the fiber going to the house having Layer 2 bridge network, so it doesn’t low light, for example,” Player said. “We can’t remotely look at; we have to put get an IP address and we can’t get to a meter on it. The video will drop packets if it is that low. Or there might be it. When you put [monitoring] into a out-of-order packets — because this is IP-based, they may go through different gateway or a set-top that can access the routes in the network. The set-top box will put it back in order if the packets HPNA network, you can see all kinds of are in that buffer. But if they are not, then you will have missing frames, which metrics on signal-to-noise ratio.” causes tiling.” That capability will give providers a cost-effective view of the home and a true G oing forward, the effort made to protect QOE also can be used as a service picture of what their customers see. ● differentiator, not only for providing higher-quality video but also for leveraging IPTV’s two-way capa- bilities, said Chris Merrit, chief marketing officer for Operax, which sells monitoring and policy-control gear to IPTV players such as BT, France Telecom and Telecom Italia. By establishing policies on a per-user basis, service providers not only can protect their network from being overly taxed, but also guarantee quality for specific appli- cations, such as videoconferencing for teleworkers by day and HD video in the evenings, he said. “IPTV is going through different generations of matu- rity,” Merrit said. “It was initially a replication of cable; now IPTV needs to explore the interactivity that IP enables. Things like screen-in-screen, multiview, interactivity with other applications — blog as you watch “The Sopranos” with your friends — the more of these you have, the better the service, but also the more different capacity demands that the service provider needs to be able to control.” Player would like to see the probe capability now used independently become integrated into set-top boxes and res- idential gateways to enable customer problems to be more easily diagnosed remotely so that when customers call in, deciding to roll a truck can be a more accurate choice. “The last thing we want to do is roll a truck when the problem is power within the home,” Player said. “There are some new technologies coming where we can remote- ly monitor HPNA — we want to integrate that into the residential gateway and the set-top box. The HPNA is a telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 13
    • Pushing copper’s speed limits Equipment vendors are discovering new ways to get more bandwidth out of copper access lines. [ BY ED GUBBINS ] D espite all the attention given Artificial noise travels down the line will probably fall between 10% and to lightning-fast broadband itself while virtual noise is introduced 20%, he said. speeds enabled by fiber to directly at the receiver. SmartDSL isn’t available in North the home, most carriers are forced to “By putting this noise in specific America yet, and Alcatel-Lucent isn’t concern themselves instead with how spots, you keep the signal-to-noise sure when it will be. To work, cus- much bandwidth they can squeeze ratio high, increasing the speed and tomer premises equipment (CPE) out of copper already in the ground. throughput of the line,” said Steve vendors must adopt the technology, Hoping to find profit in this pain, Kemp, senior director of product Kemp said, and so far that hasn’t ‘‘ equipment vendors are working on a happened. Part of the reason is the range of new technological advance- ments to push the envelope of what We’re able artificial and virtual noise combina- tion — while the former is compat- copper can do. to see the signal ible with existing ADSL modems, the For example, Alcatel-Lucent intro- duced a new technique for bolstering more cleanly latter is an option within the VDSL2 standard and hasn’t yet been applied copper data speeds this year. Dubbed and determine broadly to industry silicon. “SmartDSL,” the technology is aimed at keeping noise levels on DSL lines exactly where Other vendors are pursuing differ- ent ways of turning down the noise low without compromising band- those energy in (and thus increasing the power of) width speeds. When noise increases in a DSL network, the traditional peaks are.’’ VDSL2. A group of companies that includes Israeli equipment vendor solution is to rebalance power levels, —MATTHEW LANDRY ECI Telecom is working on a tech- XTENDWAVE increasing the signal-to-noise margin nology called dynamic spectrum to compensate. But this results in less marketing for broadband access in management (DSM) that promises available bandwidth. Alcatel-Lucent’s North America for Alcatel-Lucent. to reduce the threat of cross-talk approach keeps the level of available Kemp claims SmartDSL can poten- interference on VDSL2 lines, giving bandwidth high by inserting two tially yield performance improve- them greater reach and power. One types of simulated noise: what it calls ments as high as 30% above traditional aspect of DSM called vectoring coor- “artificial” noise and “virtual” noise. DSL, but on average, improvements dinates the spectrums of multiple 14 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • ARTIFICIAL NOISE (ADSL) / VIRTUAL NOISE (VDSL) CONCEPT NORMAL LINE PROBLEM LINE TRADITIONAL SOLUTION ANVN attenuation Loop RX PSD bandwidth Limited bandwidth bandwidth Available Available UNSTABLE: RE-SYNC Noise margin Noise margin Transmit PSD Noise ANVN margin Source: Alcatel-Lucent Noise margin Received noise Received noise Received noise Received noise Frequency v Stable at high rate, Stable: Noise below Unstable: Crosstalk Stable at low rate, frequency-specific noise margin exceeds margin high noise margin noise margin signals by processing them together form, in which signals are defined by chip can send traffic at T-1 speeds so that cross-talk appears to lessen. frequency but not by time. By using over more than 22,000 feet, the com- In theory, vectoring potentially could wavelets instead, and seeing signals pany said. At a quarter of that speed, double the speed of VDSL2 loops in terms of both frequency and time, it can reach more than 27,000 feet. between 100 and 200 meters long, Xtendwave’s chip has a clearer view “Where the typical 40 Mb/s is ECI Telecom said, perhaps extending of the line and is thus able to more stopping at about 3500 to 5000 feet, the reach of 100 Mb/s service by 250 efficiently pack bits into the pipe, the we’re sending it 6000 to 8000 feet,” to 300 meters. But the commercial company said. The chip achieves Landry said. Not only does that allow introduction of DSM vectoring must this in part by overlapping channels carriers to push triple-play services to wait as standards are hammered out. instead of maintaining guard bands areas previously beyond reach, it also Another new equipment start- between them. Those guard bands boosts the bandwidth for subscribers up, Phylogy, raised $1.4 million in are usually erected to maintain already on the network. Series A funding last year with a orthogonality (or multidimensional But again, before Xtendwave’s plan to extend DSL’s reach. Phyl- modulation), but wavelets are natu- chip can work its magic, it has to be ogy claims its line conditioners can rally orthogonal, Xtendwave said, so included in access and CPE alike. boost ADSL2+ lines to 12 Mb/s over those guard bands can be replaced And the company has barely begun, 12,000 feet of 26-gauge copper. with more signal. hoping it will start shipping its prod- Some of the more dramatic “By setting guard bands, you’re uct into commercial gear toward the advances in copper are occurring at determining the peaks and valleys of end of 2008. the chip level. A new vendor named the energy cycle,” said Marc Landry, Earlier this year, another start-up Xtendwave is exiting stealth mode CEO of Xtendwave. “We’re able to see chip vendor, Rim Semiconductor, this year, promising to boost the [the signal] more cleanly and deter- announced that in tests it had sent speed and reach of DSL. Xtend- mine exactly where those energy traffic at 40 Mb/s over 5500 feet of wave’s chip uses mathematical peaks are.” 26-gauge copper wire. The company functions known as “wavelets” to Armed with that heightened vis- achieved this feat, it said, using a new modulate the time and frequency of ibility and the greater efficiency it technology it calls IP subscriber line signals simultaneously. Current DSL allows, Xtendwave claimed it can (IPSL). The company is proposing lines are based on fast Fourier trans- send more bits longer distances. Its an alternative to discrete multitone telephonyonline.com/iptv [03.08] TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV 15
    • line coding, or DMT, the standard about implementing bonded VDSL2 them out through the DSL modem commonly employed in DSL net- before that year ended, but as the line. When it comes back to us, we works including VDSL. Rather than year wore on, 2008 became the target do the reverse operation and present reserve fixed allocations of upstream for pair bonding. And in January an it as a single connection to the office and downstream bandwidth, as AT&T executive pegged “late 2008” network.” DMT does, Rim’s chip uses TDM for its introduction. Mushroom follows another new — instead of the frequency-division Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T’s FTTN start-up with a focus on broadband duplexing used in VDSL2 — so that, supplier, said its VDSL2 bonding gear bonding, British company Shared- when needed, downstream traffic is ready, but in order to be deployed it band Networks. Unlike Mushroom’s can use bandwidth that otherwise must be integrated into CPE. one-sided approach, Sharedband’s ‘‘ would be reserved for upstream traf- system pairs CPE at one end with fic, and vice versa. And it uses “rapid bidirectional switching” to transition By putting this content delivery hubs in the network. Sharedband’s initial offering uses a in milliseconds from upstream and noise in specific bank of managed centralized servers, downstream transport. According to spots, you keep off-the-shelf routers from Netgear and the firm’s Web site, Rim’s technology “defines” not just the encoding algo- the signal-to-noise its own firmware to bond up to four ADSL lines for greater bandwidth rithms inside transport processors but also “the signal stream wave- ratio high.’’ speeds. This month, the company also is adding another version using —STEVE KEMP, ALCATEL-LUCENT form.” Rim attacked rate and reach Linksys routers that allows bonding limitations in several ways, the com- Other vendors are taking differ- of non-ADSL lines, including those pany said, increasing payloads and ent approaches to line bonding in an from different providers. The aggre- decreasing noise and latency. effort to boost broadband speeds for gation of lines adds a 3% overhead to However, in order to work, IPSL business customers. Along with ven- the traffic, which the company says is would need to be embedded in both dors such as Actelis Networks and no impediment to the quality of appli- sides of the access network and be Hatteras Networks, add Mushroom cations such as voice and video. embraced by access and CPE ven- Networks, an equipment start-up that Another little-known company, dors. To accomplish this, Rim has launched this year. Mushroom’s prod- Widearea Communication Technol- convened the IPSL Special Interest uct, which is currently shipping, is a ogies, promises to boost DSL signals Group to create industry standards $3000 CPE device that bonds mul- with an ADSL loop extender and an for the new technology. tiple lines of various types — cable, “IPTV booster” that it claims extends Meanwhile, publicly held Rim DSL, T-1, etc. — and combines their the range of DSL by 30% to 50%. is facing its own internal financial bandwidths into one virtual line. The Widearea’s small, inexpensive gear hurdles, reporting in January a need box includes six ports on the network- is “refreshing in its simplicity,” said to raise more funding “immediately.” facing side and four LAN ports facing Kermit Ross, a consultant with Mil- And it doesn’t expect an ASIC-based the end user. lennium Marketing — especially con- version of its product to be commer- When a user wants to download sidering the mix of new technologies cially available until later this year. a big file, for example, Mushroom’s and new standards being developed Another promising means of device sends separate requests for to completely rethink how copper boosting copper bandwidth is with each network-facing broadband port access networks are built. ● line bonding — in particular, bond- — one for each section of the file, ing the most advanced form of DSL, so that each section is downloaded VDSL2. AT&T repeatedly has cited simultaneously into separate ports VDSL2 pair bonding in response to without overlapping efforts, and ONLINE: questions about whether its fiber- the file is reassembled in the device. to-the-node (FTTN) architecture Thus, the user gets the benefit of the Stay up to date on the includes enough bandwidth to sat- combined speeds of all the lines. IPTV market at our isfy consumer demand, especially for “It’s almost like a deep packet Web site’s one-stop, multiple channels of high-definition inspection technology,” said Cahit featuring news, analysis, television. But the goalposts for that Akin, CEO of Mushroom. “We look commentary and podcasts. technology have moved back some into [user download] requests and www.telephony.com/ over time. In early 2007, AT&T talked manage them intelligently and send iptv 16 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
    • IP-PRIME NOW DELIVERS ALL THE HDTV YOU NEED OVER A SINGLE TELEPHONE LINE. DRIVERS, START YOUR ENGINES. It’s Prime Time for Telcos. days and can be easily scaled to add With HD expected to drive a Easily deploy MPEG-4 HDTV over more HD programming. wave of subscriptions in the upcoming your existing MPEG-2 system with IP-PRIME offers a simple turnkey months, be sure to bring your system IP-PRIME HD-4, an amazing solution that provides hundreds of up-to-speed with IP-PRIME HD-4, the step forward in the SD/HDTV and audio simplest, most efficient method to development of IPTV. channels, robust deploy MPEG-4 service over your IP-PRIME HD-4 middleware, a secure existing MPEG-2 infrastructure. allows operators to architecture and For more information, contact deploy HD rapidly by encrypted MPEG-4 video Kent Verner at (1) 609-987-4017. adding an MPEG-4 ideal for DSL-based IPTV Online at: www.ip-prime.tv service “layer” without having to delivery— all transported via SES overhaul their existing MPEG-2 AMERICOM’s reliable satellite fleet networks. The single-rack HD-4 seamlessly to the set top box or, solution can deliver all the HDTV alternatively, to your central office channels you need within 60 head-end. SES AMERICOM, Princeton, N.J. USA info.americom@ses-americom.com © SES AMERICOM. All rights reserved.
    • IPTV WORLDWIDE TELCO TV SUBSCRIBERS OPPORTUNITY (in millions) 60 AS IPTV ROLLOUTS continue and service providers further sharpen their offerings and ad- 40 vertising campaigns, the levels of IPTV subscribers, equipment ship- ments and equipment revenue will continue to grow, according 20 Source: In-Stat to recent market predictions from Infonetics Research and In-Stat. Providers still unsure of the possibilities of an IP-driven video 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 offering can look to data from the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (an international economic monitor- WORLDWIDE IP SET-TOP BOX UNIT SHIPMENTS ing and forecasting body). With (in millions) a large base of broadband users currently receiving that service via 20 DSL, the market could be ripe for more telco video players to take advantage of technology already 15 in place. —MARK DONAHUE 10 BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTIONS Source: In-Stat BY TECHNOLOGY 5 (Percentage of 200 million total subscribers) 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 63% Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development DSL delivers majority of broadband access WORLDWIDE TOTAL IPTV EQUIPMENT REVENUE FORECAST (in billions of U.S. dollars) 6 29% 4 Source: Infonetics Research 6% 2 2% DSL Cable Fiber Other 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 18 TELEPHONY’S GUIDE TO IPTV [03.08] telephonyonline.com/iptv
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