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  1. 1. Terena 2007 – Paper Submission Terena Triple play in the university environment; Inuk and Global Crossing working together to deliver high value communications and content services. Authors: Chris Dawes (Global Crossing, ), Guy Clark (Global Crossing,, Nick Ruczaj (Inuk, ) Key Words: Triple Play, IPTV, MPLS, VoIP, SIP, JANET, Student Abstract: The university campus is a thriving academic, social and economic community. The need to learn, interact and have fun are all supported and facilitated by innovative applications running over powerful and flexible networks that are in turn connected to rapidly evolving networks and content that are both exciting as well as potentially a security risk. This paper outlines an innovative, new, IP based, triple play service for UK students and discusses the technology and other challenges faced in bringing these services to market; in particular focusing on IPTV and VoIP. Freewire, a triple play (TV, Internet and Telephony) offering for university students in the UK, is an innovative set of services and applications adding value to the university business model and an attractive, user friendly service and content proposition for the wider community centred around the campus. The target market for Freewire in the UK is the population of 3.2M students; there are approx. 600,000 new students each year and over 200 halls of residence. Freewire initially targets students living in University managed halls of residence but will soon expand to cover students living in private (landlord owned) accommodation over DSL. The Freewire TV service went live in the UK in September and already over 10,000 studnets at the Univeirsty of Leeds and University of Liverpool have access to the service. The telephony service went live in UK in October and there are over 1,500 SIP handsets installed at The University of Edinburgh and the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. Subscriber numbers are expected to grow substantially with a full marketing launch planned for January 2007. The Freewire service is an attractive value proposition for its end users - Free IPTV, Internet Access and Telephone calls for all registered subscribers with options to subscribe to value added services. IPTV – All major free-to-air channels in the UK plus a selection of international channels. Premium content will be added in 2007. Page 1 29 November 2006 Guy Clark, Chris Dawes, Nick Ruczaj
  2. 2. Terena 2007 – Paper Submission Broadband Internet – For students living in private (landlord owned) accommodation. Telephony – Dedicated inbound non-geographic number, free “on-net” SIP to SIP calls, very low cost SIP/Softphone to PSTN calls. The Freewire service is delivered over existing high bandwidth wide-area transmission networks (e.g. JANET) and local area networks using MPLS and IP technologies. See Fig 1. Fig.1 Network Topology The key technology challenges and solutions were – QoS, Security, Customer Provisioning and Service, Billing, Network interconnect. QoS – QoS is essential when running real-time applications like voice and video over a converged network infrastructure. The JANET network in the UK already utilised QoS with four classes of service: IP Premium = best QoS service, for all real-time application, e.g. VoIP and Video conferencing. Best Effort (BE) = regular and only Internet-wide service, based on normal processing of IP packets by ISP routers. No guarantees and excess traffic/packets dropped during periods of congestion. IP Plus (IP+) = between BE and IP Premium, and could be useful for a number of applications that do not have such strict demands for latency parameters as have applications such as VoIP, but which still need bandwidth guarantees, e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and content-streaming applications. LBE = lower than BE priority. Basically it conforms to the DiffServ idea of providing services with different QoS levels. The LBE class is intended for traffic of sufficiently low value (where "value" may be interpreted in any useful way by the network operator), where all other traffic takes precedence over the LBE class of traffic and consumes the bandwidth on the network link. One possible interpretation of "low value" traffic is its low priority in time, which does not necessarily imply that it is of low Page 2 29 November 2006 Guy Clark, Chris Dawes, Nick Ruczaj
  3. 3. Terena 2007 – Paper Submission importance. For the JANET community, the LBE service could be used for bulky GRID traffic that could starve regular Best Effort service of bandwidth because of its high amount of data, i.e. terabytes or even petabytes. When such traffic doesn’t have strict timing requirements it can be transferred during network idle times (which could be quite short, perhaps lasting only a few milliseconds). LBE allows network users to define which traffic could be transferred with the lowest priority. Security A Session Border Controller within the Freewire architecture protects the services and the JANET network from unauthorised users or attack. All services are pre-paid and so Inuk is protected from unauthorised use and fraud. The users are protected by having unique account ID/PIN. Customer Provisioning and Billing All service requests are made via a web portal and all billing is pre-paid; this is facilitated by the deployment of an industry leading third-party system – PortaOne. Network Interconnect Both the connection from the Inuk service platforms and the connection from these platforms to the Global Crossing network are direct connections, i.e. not over the public internet and hence additional security is provided. VoIP All on-net calls are controlled by the Inuk network hosted applications and so do not touch the public network. However, for students to reach users of other networks (the PSTN), the hosted applications needed to be connected to a carrier who bridges the gap between the closed user group of the JANET network and the PSTN. Global Crossing has been doing this since 2001, using Sonus soft switches and ACME Session Border Controllers within its core network and Sonus Media Gateways providing conversion from VoIP in the core to TDM at the edge facing the PSTN. Traffic within the core rides over Global Crossing’s private MPLS network ensuring that the Premium QoS required for the VoIP traffic is applied to maximise the quality of the user experience. By hosting geographic and non-geographic numbers within its network Global Crossing is able to facilitate the provision of numbers on which the students may be called when using the Freewire service. Historically universities have used non-geographic revenue share numbers for the on-net users to be reached by the PSTN community. Global Crossing has provided UK 0844 numbers (5ppm to the caller within the UK) in this instance with a small revenue share passing from BT to Global Crossing to Inuk and the universities. The call flow is the same, i.e. Caller on BT or other service provider network, over BT network, over GC network and then onto the JANET network via the Inuk SBC and application servers. Page 3 29 November 2006 Guy Clark, Chris Dawes, Nick Ruczaj
  4. 4. Terena 2007 – Paper Submission Outbound calls to the PSTN follow the exact reverse path for calls to UK national destinations, but pass out via a multitude of globally connected Global Crossing partners for international locations. Connectivity to PSTN Global Crossing Owned/Operated Network UNUK GC IP VPN LD, ILD, & LDS calls Session Border PR Router Controller IP and Apps Servers GC MPLS IP Session Border Controller GC VoIP TDM / GW Soft Switch TDM Global Crossing makes a small profit on both inbound and outbound call flows – retaining a proportion of the revenue invoiced from BT for inbound calls and applying a margin to the outbound call charges incurred from UK domestic and international operators. IPTV Inuk has developed a platform for the distribution of broadcast quality TV and audio over IP-based networks using multicast delivery. As part of its collaboration with UKERNA, Inuk broadcasts TV over the JANET network, in effect, meaning that any university connected to JANET already has access to Inuk’s Freewire TV service. No hardware is required at the university site to receive TV signals (i.e. no aerials, receivers or servers). Freewire provides a fully supported IPTV client for the student market with around 30 linear TV channels delivered as multicast streams over the JANET network. Inuk’s encoding is based on MPEG4 thereby reducing the bandwidth requirements for each channel. Compared to an MPEG2 stream, MPEG4 streams require approximately half the bandwidth (approximately 1.5 Mbps/stream). Page 4 29 November 2006 Guy Clark, Chris Dawes, Nick Ruczaj
  5. 5. Terena 2007 – Paper Submission Freewire can be watched on a personal computer by downloading a software client, or on a standard TV set with the addition of a Set-Top Box. Freewire includes a full Electronic Programming Guide and online help facility. FreewireExtra is scheduled to launch in early 2007 and will build on the standard Freewire product by providing access to Premium content on a subscription and/or pay- per-view basis. Both the Freewire and FreewireExtra product will be enhanced over time with additional functionality, including: live pause/ rewind/replay, multi-room functionality, time shifted TV, community TV, gaming and network PVR. Conclusion The Freewire service uses powerful IP technologies to provide a high quality communications and media experience to its users whilst adding value to the university business model. Underpinning these applications are existing high bandwidth infrastructures and powerful MPLS/IP/QoS enabled platforms. The service platform is state-of-the-art, Next Generation Network and represents a pioneering approach that will, in due course be seen in many other private and public telecoms and media networks as expensive legacy platforms are replaced and as end users increasingly demand a new service experience. Page 5 29 November 2006 Guy Clark, Chris Dawes, Nick Ruczaj