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technology


AccoMMoDAtIng
eMeRgIng IPtV SeRVIceS
HDTV and IPTV will vastly increase bandwidth requirements;
fiber/copper ...
technology




Figure 2: Emerging services require enhanced broadband capacity.


compressed HDTV stream in origi-        ...
technology

                                                                                      living units outside thi...
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                                                                                  gained by applying advanced ...
technology




Figure 6: The equation for service provider success.


no means limited to SDTV content,          HDTV and ...
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AccoMMoDAtIng eMeRgIng IPtV SeRVIceS

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AccoMMoDAtIng eMeRgIng IPtV SeRVIceS

  1. 1. technology AccoMMoDAtIng eMeRgIng IPtV SeRVIceS HDTV and IPTV will vastly increase bandwidth requirements; fiber/copper technologies have a place By Geoff Burke ■ Calix E veryone remembers the first time they see HDTV. The picture quality is so good, you can’t believe your eyes. My first time was about 10 years ago. HDTV had depth, it had almost unimaginable clarity, it was beautiful – and in the mid-1990s, with a price tag around $80,000, HDTV was unattainable. Fast forward a decade, and providers can deliver HDTV to nearly any living room at a price the mainstream consumer can af- ford. Nearly 15 percent of Ameri- cans now have HDTV-capable television sets, and average selling prices for run-of-the-mill HDTV sets have dropped below $1,500. At current adoption rates, nearly two-thirds of U.S. households will Figure 1: HDTV is gradually becoming a mainstream service requirement. have an HDTV-capable set by 2010 HDTV penetration will grow to 78 million homes in the US by the end (see Figure 1). In addition, more of 2010. that 40 cable networks broadcast in HDTV today, and nearly 1,500 ers will be able to support it. A basic and optimized for ubiquitous nar- broadcasters across the country pro- HDTV service offering, or at least rowband telephone services. To meet vide some HDTV programming in the promise of HDTV on the service the emerging service needs of a band- their lineups. HDTV is evolving roadmap, is a must for any IPTV width-intensive new service such as from a novelty for the rich to a resi- deployment in today’s competitive HDTV, carriers must engage in a ma- dential service offering. environment. The inability to sup- jor transformation of their networks. port HDTV severely limits potential HDTV: A Must-Have service adoption. HDTV Bandwidth HDTV has also emerged as a Obviously, communications ser- Requirements basic market requirement for IPTV vice providers need to add HDTV to HDTV offers an image quality that deployments. Average consumers their IPTV services mix. Adding this makes traditional standard-defini- may not own an HDTV set today, new service is conceptually simple, tion TV (SDTV) look primitive. but they anticipate adopting HDTV but the implications are quite pro- However, this quality comes at a in the future and want to be sure found. The current telecommunica- cost in the form of the bandwidth that their potential service provid- tions network is primarily designed required to carry the signal. An un- 48 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | SEPTEMBER 2006
  2. 2. technology Figure 2: Emerging services require enhanced broadband capacity. compressed HDTV stream in origi- To reach the 20+ Mbps bandwidth required, most service nal MPEG2 format requires up to providers will have to significantly transform their 19.2 Mbps of uninterrupted, laten- cy-sensitive bandwidth. Compare networks. They will need to pull fiber much closer to the this to ADSL-over-copper technol- customer premises. In some markets, they will transform ogies that offer peak bandwidth of the physical access network to FTTP; in others they will less than 10 Mbps to residential cus- use DSL over copper from FTTN. tomers, and the network challenges become clear. New compression technologies such as MPEG4 AVC Although it is easy to jump to the quirements. Aiming for an aggregate (H.264) can cut HDTV bandwidth conclusion that collective bandwidth service capacity in the 20+ Mbps requirements by more than half, but requirements might be even higher, range will likely provide the flexibil- the need for significant network up- the dynamic bandwidth allocation ity needed to address the inevitable grades still remains. capabilities of IP can effectively variations in service trends. The majority of service provid- manage the aggregate bandwidth re- ers agree that supporting two to quired to the home. One attractive The Necessary three SDTV streams or a mix of attribute of IP-based services is that Network Enhancements two SDTV and up to two HDTV IP only consumes bandwidth when To reach the 20+ Mbps bandwidth streams concurrently will satisfy applications are active. Therefore, it required by HDTV, most service competitive market requirements for is quite probable that service provid- providers will have to significantly the vast majority of households for ers can support emerging data-ser- transform their networks. For ex- at least a reasonable period of time. vice bandwidth requirements, for ample, they will need to pull fiber However, adding information and example, with a pool of bandwidth much closer to the customer premis- communication services to entertain- that also supports IPTV. As Figure es. Service providers can address this ment services such as HDTV will in- 2 shows, when video appliances are broadband challenge in one of two crease bandwidth requirements (see inactive, providers can reallocate ways. In some markets and neigh- Figure 2). Collectively these services IPTV bandwidth to support higher borhoods, they will transform the are projected to require a throughput advertised data rates, decreasing the physical access network to Fiber To capacity in excess of 20 Mbps. average and peak throughput re- The Premises (FTTP); in others they SEPTEMBER 2006 | www.broadbandproper ties.com | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | 49
  3. 3. technology living units outside this range, or for those requiring more bandwidth, this architecture can support bonding of multiple circuits, which extends the effective service rate and reach. If and when service and band- width requirements increase beyond the limits of copper technology, then the node at the center of the CSA can serve as a potential aggre- gation location for further subdi- Figure 3: Options for addressing emerging bandwidth requirements. vided nodes (shorter loop lengths), or as a launch location for higher- bandwidth FTTP solutions. In any will use DSL over copper to push vice throughput with ADSL2+. event, providers can easily enhance Fiber To The remote Node (FTTN) As an alternative to FTTP, the FTTN architecture to support location (see Figure 3). many service providers have found additional needs (see Figure 4). FTTP is often the most costly FTTN using VDSL2 to be a more solution, yet it carries the lowest tech- economically feasible approach for Moving Upstream: nology risk. Some service providers providing the broadband capacities Bandwidth Requirements have found FTTP to be cost-effec- required today, with the flexibility to of the Transport Network tive in new builds, and others have evolve to higher-capacity technolo- Deeper in the network, in the trans- leapt into FTTP for all deployment gies when or if required. For many port space between remote aggrega- areas to ensure adequate bandwidth communications service providers, a tion devices and the core network, in the future. Unquestionably, FTTP 5,000-foot FTTN serving area will different bandwidth challenges are provides enough bandwidth, either likely pass the majority of the homes driven by a different set of variables directly or through Passive Optical in existing Customer Serving Areas and services. It is in this part of the Network (PON) split reductions, to (CSAs). At that distance, VDSL2 network that the overall access net- meet foreseeable service demands. can deliver between 22 and 26 Mbps work traffic is accounted for – the Real-world applications cannot reli- downstream and 2 Mbps or more aggregate sum of hundreds of broad- ably achieve this level of actual ser- upstream over 24-gauge copper. For cast channels and of ever-increasing Figure 4: Reducing loop lengths for greater bandwidth over copper. 50 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | SEPTEMBER 2006
  4. 4. technology gained by applying advanced com- pression to SDTV channels. One solution to this problem is to limit the overall number of channels de- livered to the node, implementing technologies such as Internet Group Multicast Protocol (IGMP) proxy or Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) sparse mode to relieve some of the broadcast IPTV bandwidth requirements from the access trans- port network. However, many of these savings will again be mitigated by the increases in per stream band- width (HDTV), a wider variety of channels requested (Digital Video Recorder [DVR]), and increases in Figure 5: As entertainment becomes increasingly on-demand, value increases. non-IPTV driven bandwidth. HDTV and On-Demand Content: Just 30 additional H.264/ VC-1 HDTV The Emerging Perfect Storm channels will totally wipe out any bandwidth As bandwidth-intensive as HDTV efficiencies gained by applying advanced is, it is the combination of HDTV compression to SDTV channels . with the proliferation of on-demand content that will create the “perfect storm” of access bandwidth chal- on-demand content. Today, multi- they are phased in over the next few lenges. On-demand content consists casting delivers the greatest transport years, gradually replacing MPEG2. of a variety of user-requested pro- efficiencies because it enables delivery These schemes will roughly cut gramming, ranging from movies, of a single copy of a broadcast chan- IPTV bandwidth requirements in news, and sports clips to targeted nel once to potentially thousands of half, saving 225-300 Mbps of access advertisements and network-based viewers. However, increasing user transport bandwidth. DVR services (see Figure 5). control over content delivery will However, the next few years By definition, on-demand con- dramatically change the efficiency of will also see dramatic increases in tent cannot be multicast through delivery and ultimately expand the the high-speed data service speeds the access network, as it represents bandwidth requirements in this part needed to compete with DOCSIS a unique stream to each requesting of the network. 3.0 and increasingly bandwidth- subscriber. Thus, every on-demand Today, a typical channel lineup intensive communication services request creates an additional band- delivering 150 multicast MPEG2 such as videophones. As mentioned width burden on the access transport SDTV channels requires between before, HDTV channels will also network. This burden varies by node 3-4 Mbps of bandwidth for each become primary service require- size and concurrent usage. Typical channel, or about 450-600 Mbps of ments. HDTV is exceptionally on-demand deployments today see dedicated IPTV bandwidth in total. challenging from a bandwidth per- peak concurrent take rates from 5 to Adding dozens to thousands of ag- spective, as each channel requires 10 percent of subscribers. gregated high-speed data customers five times more bandwidth than its However, as on-demand con- and TDM voice customers drives SDTV counterpart, and HDTV is tent increases in variety and quality, the required bandwidth into the 1- complementary to, not a substitute and as users become increasingly 2 Gbps range. Advanced compres- for, the existing channel lineup. comfortable with ordering these ser- sion schemes such as MPEG4 AVC Thus just 30 additional H.264/ vices, peak concurrent rates could (H.264) and Windows Media 9 VC-1 HDTV channels will totally reach 20 to 25 percent. Adding fuel (VC-1) will likely provide relief as wipe out any bandwidth efficiencies to the fire, on-demand content is by SEPTEMBER 2006 | www.broadbandproper ties.com | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | 51
  5. 5. technology Figure 6: The equation for service provider success. no means limited to SDTV content, HDTV and on-demand services and strategic broadband relation- and HDTV content on demand pose a profound strategic network ships with customers. will expand over time. Total access- question for service providers – To win this battle, communica- transport bandwidth implications should they move directly to FTTP, tions service providers must embrace will vary greatly by on-demand or should they further invest in the these new services. To do that, they system design and node size. Nev- existing copper-wire infrastructure need robust access platforms and ertheless, it is reasonable to assume with enhanced DSL transmission network architectures that give them that for every 200-300 concurrent technologies and reduced-loop- viable and flexible choices to effec- on-demand sessions, an additional length FTTN architectures? tively deliver these services. Equally Gbps of access transport bandwidth The answer to this question important to providers’ long-term will be necessary. varies widely, based on a number success, however, will be their abil- A number of wild cards could of situation-specific circumstances. ity to implement these architectures potentially greatly affect access trans- FTTN architectures employing at both the lowest initial capital cost port requirements – both positively VDSL2 and PON FTTP architec- and the lowest ongoing operational and negatively. For example, the in- tures are both excellent choices for expense (see Figure 6). fluence of content delivery and stor- addressing continued bandwidth Led by HDTV and on-demand age devices such as the iPod and Tivo growth in most deployment sce- content, the bandwidth gauntlet has could potentially lead to handling narios. By selecting platforms that been thrown. Never ones to back much of the burden of on-demand can flexibly and seamlessly sup- down from a challenge, communica- service through mass storage devices port VDSL2 bonding, migration to tions service providers have a variety at customer premises or within the FTTP, and upgrades from BPON of choices in addressing these chal- network. Aggregate access-network to GPON and beyond, communica- lenges head-on. However, they must bandwidth would be replaced with tions service providers have the flex- determine an optimal approach that patterns of less bandwidth-intensive ibility to adapt to any unforeseen balances deployment cost with the but “bursty” traffic. In addition, the emerging bandwidth requirements. flexibility to accommodate band- advent of more powerful compres- Emerging advanced IPTV ser- width demands seamlessly and effi- sion technologies or dynamic band- vices such as HDTV and on-demand ciently. The battle for the dominant width allocation benefits both sides content will be the primary drivers service provider of the future is on, of the access network, leading to less of access bandwidth requirements of and HDTV and on-demand content dedicated traffic to the home and the foreseeable future. Communica- will be the first theater of that battle. lower aggregate bandwidth require- tions service providers cannot ignore Stay tuned! BBP ments in the transport component. these services, as they have become table stakes in the extraordinarily About the Author Finding the Bandwidth competitive race to establish new en- Geoff Burke is Director of Field Mar- The bandwidth requirements of tertainment services revenue streams keting for Calix, www.calix.com. 52 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | SEPTEMBER 2006

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