muST SEE iPTv
VERSION 1.0 | OCTOBER 2006
ExECuTivE Summary ...........................................2
DEFiNiNG iPTv aND iTS BuSiNESS CaSE ................2
iPTv marKET OuTLOOK .........................................3
SErviCE PrOviDEr rEQuirEmENTS
aND THE B-raS ....................................................4
WHy aTCa? ..........................................................5
CaPiTaLiZiNG ON THE iPTv OPPOrTuNiTy ..............5
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ExECuTivE Summary DEFiNiNG iPTv
Although Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is a aND iTS BuSiNESS CaSE
new technology, it’s already poised to redefine IPTV is a catch-all term used for various methods for
how consumers receive and interact with video. As a delivering multichannel TV, on-demand video and other on-
result, it’s also poised to reshape the telecom and home demand multimedia content via an IP-based network. Also
entertainment markets. For example, telcos can use known as “telco TV” or “video over broadband,” IPTV enables
IPTV to offset declining voice revenue, attract and retain part of the “triple play” of voice, video and data that drives
customers, and differentiate their services. additional incremental revenue from each subscriber.
Many telcos are already in the midst of upgrading Despite its name, IPTV doesn’t send video over public
their core and access networks to support IP-based Internet connections. Instead, IPTV uses the service provider’s
services, but that migration alone doesn’t enable private DSL and/or fiber infrastructure. As a result, service
IPTV. That’s because distributing video requires much providers have greater control over the quality and reliability
higher bandwidth and higher-performance network of IPTV services.
elements than voice and broadband. To meet those
requirements and ensure reliable, high-quality video IPTV is fundamentally different from today’s cable and
services, infrastructure vendors increasingly choose satellite TV services because each video stream is delivered
Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) as the to the customer’s set-top box only when she’s watching that
foundation for their IPTV products. channel. By comparison, cable and satellite continuously
deliver all channels, regardless of which one the viewer is
This white paper provides an overview of the IPTV watching at a particular moment.
market, including the roles of next-generation broadband
remote access servers (B-RASs) and ATCA technology. It Several trends are helping drive IPTV. These include:
focuses on service provider requirements for scalability,
Declining voice revenue. The growing popularity of
Ethernet and legacy transport support, quality of service
VoIP services such as Vonage and Time Warner Cable
and capacity, as well as how systems designers and
Digital Phone is eroding telcos’ voice revenue. IPTV
infrastructure vendors can meet those requirements.
provides a way for telcos to get into the video business
and thus offset those declines.
Increased competition. VoIP providers, wireless carriers,
cable operators and competitive local exchange carriers
(CLECs) have become major players in the telecom
market over the past several years. To attract and retain
customers, telcos need new services such as IPTV to
differentiate themselves in the eyes of consumers.
Maturing technologies. IPTV is enabled by a wide
variety of telecom and audio-video (AV) technologies,
including Ethernet, H.264/MPEG-4 video compression,
ADSL2+ and VDSL. These technologies are now mature
enough to be used in commercial deployments.
Broadband infrastructure. Telcos such as AT&T,
BellSouth and Verizon Communications are aggressively
building out fiber, Ethernet and next-generation DSL
networks. These technologies are ideal for delivering
bandwidth-intensive video services, including high-
definition TV (HDTV).
Personalization. Today’s consumers increasingly expect
– and receive – personalized services, ranging from on-
demand video to song downloads. To remain competitive,
service providers must accommodate personalization. IPTV
is one powerful way to do that.
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iPTv marKET OuTLOOK
IPTV provides consumers with more ways to watch
and interact with video.
Here are a few examples:
An IPTV customer is watching a movie and is
impressed by an actor she’s never seen before. So she
uses her remote to click on the actor’s name in the
movie’s description to get a rundown of other films that
she’s appeared in. To watch one, she simply clicks on the
title. If it’s a new title that’s available only by pay-per-view,
then telco picks up additional revenue. Source: iSuppli Corp. August 2006
A sports fan uses IPTV to choose from among several So far, Asia has the largest number of IPTV subscribers.
camera angles at a game. One reason is because Asia has many cities with high
population densities, which reduce the distance between
An IPTV customer watches a music video and wants to subscribers and central offices. That makes those markets
buy the artist’s album. Using his remote, he pulls up ideal for deploying next-gen DSL technologies such as
a menu that lets him order it. Because it enabled that ADSL2+, which are a good fit for carrying IPTV services.
purchase, the telco gets a percentage of the sale.
To accommodate IPTV subscriber growth, telcos
A teen-ager watches TV while using IM on screen to worldwide are increasing their capex. Figure 2 shows that
chat with friends about the show. by 2009, service providers will spend $4.5 billion on IPTV
infrastructure, according to Infonetics.
Those are just a few examples of how IPTV will turn
couch potatoes into active viewers and, in the process, One key node in the IPTV network architecture is the
drive additional revenue for telcos and their business broadband remote access server (B-RAS), which serves
partners. Figure 1 shows that by 2010, IPTV will have as aggregation point for wide range of services. The telco
more than 63 million subscribers worldwide, up from 2.4 migration from ATM- to Ethernet-based networks in order
million in 2005, according to iSuppli, an independent to accommodate IPTV is driving significant growth in
analyst firm. Service revenues are forecast to hit $27 the B-RAS market. Worldwide B-RAS sales are growing
billion by 2010. at compounded annual rate of 25 percent and will hit
$1 billion by 2008, according to the Yankee Group. As
discussed in the next section, capitalizing on the B-RAS
opportunity means understanding telcos’ technical
requirements and market issues.
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rEQuirEmENTS aND THE B-raS
To grab a share of the IPTV market, infrastructure
vendors and their suppliers must understand the
issues that telcos face. These include:
Modularity and Scalability. Just as no two TV
viewers are alike, every central office has different
scalability, capacity and I/O needs. That’s why service
providers value IPTV infrastructure that has an array of
For telcos that are preparing to launch IPTV, key B-RAS FIGURE 2. The B-RAS provides an
options to tackle a variety of applications. For example, aggregation point for a wide range
requirements typically include: of services.
when system designers offer a mix of products based
on ATCA, Advanced Mezzanine Card (AdvancedMC) QoS policy management. Quality obviously is
and MicroTCA, they give their vendor customers the critical for attracting and retaining customers, but it’s
ability to meet service providers’ cost and scalability particularly important for telcos because they’re going
requirements. up against cable and satellite incumbents. As a result,
their IPTV services must be at least as good, if not
Speed and Cost Effectiveness. Like other next-
better, than those rivals.
gen technologies, IPTV is based on the belief in the
superiority of platforms that use open standards such Bandwidth and Ethernet port density. IP video
as ATCA. This approach gives infrastructure vendors services significantly increase per-subscriber bandwidth
and their service provider customers the flexibility requirements. Each B-RAS must be able to scale to
necessary to develop new IPTV services and features support growth in subscribers and in the amount of
quickly and cost-effectively. Open standards also bandwidth. In an IPTV deployment, it’s not uncommon
reduce risk and time-to-market. to have tens of thousands of subscribers per node.
To accommodate both current demand and future
Interoperability. Although IPTV is a new technology,
growth, the B-RAS’ control plane must be able to
infrastructure vendors still have to respect the past.
provide as much distribution as possible, and it
For example, ignoring legacy interfaces such as
should be able to scale into hundreds of ports. These
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) means that they
requirements extend to the interfaces, where service
can’t sell into service providers that rely on those
providers increasingly favor Gig E and 10 Gig E
because those provide ample bandwidth for IP DSLAM
One network node that plays a major role in addressing uplinks and aggregation at the network edge.
these requirements is the B-RAS. For example, in terms
Compute scalability and packet-processing
of interoperability, the B-RAS must support legacy
scalability. Packet processing uses bandwidth
interfaces such as ATM and Synchronous Optical Network
and processing, so when designing a B-RAS for
(SONET), as well as Gig E and 10 Gig E, which are critical
IPTV, infrastructure vendors must leave enough
for delivering bandwidth-intensive video services.
headroom. Tasks include traffic management, filtering,
The B-RAS’ basic architecture requirements are set by classification, and IP forwarding, so the B-RAS must
the DSL Forum’s Technical Report (TR) 59, which was be scalable enough to accommodate these as the
created largely by service providers as a framework for number of subscriber and services grows.
quality-of-service (QoS)-enabled, IP-based services over
I/O flexibility. The B-RAS’ I/O card can handle tasks
DSL using ATM as the underlying transport mechanism.
such as Layer 2 and Layer 3 signaling. It also should
The B-RAS serves as a central aggregation point
support MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS), which
where the telco handles tasks such as authenticating,
is key for telcos that need to accommodate legacy
authorizing, managing QoS and policy enforcement for
technologies such as ATM.
broadband services, which include video.
Modularity and flexibility. Different service
There is no single way to implement B-RAS. Instead, the
providers have different requirements, so the B-RAS
implementation varies based on the service provider’s
must be designed in a way that’s flexible enough to
network configuration and preferences. However,
accommodate each telco’s unique needs.
one trend is toward a distributed B-RAS architecture,
which is popular because it provides more flexibility for
accommodating changing traffic and viewing patterns,
unlike a centralized B-RAS architecture.
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