Cable Industry Seeking Comments on Status Monitoring Specification
Louisville, Colorado, October 7, 1996—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc., (CableLabs®) working with member companies and leading industry suppliers, has issued a draft interim specification for a protocol that will allow for interoperable status monitoring products. Deadline for comments on this specification is October 10.
Status monitoring involves receiving reports on performance of active network devices and remote control of those devices in a hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) or all-coax cable communications network.
The goal of the status monitoring effort is to establish an open, standards-based technology that vendors may use to create products that allow cable operators to be more proactive in their management of HFC networks and result in more reliable systems and lower maintenance costs.
Increased competition (i.e., products from more suppliers), standardized interfaces, and added functionality (e.g., return path control) will lead to decreased manufacturing costs and increased usage of this technology by cable operators, which will in turn enable economies of scale to keep costs reasonable, said Dr. Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs.
"This new network management system will enable cable operators to monitor network performance and control their entire network infrastructure, including all networks and signals, said Tom Elliot, senior vice president with TCI.
"That kind of capability is part of the tools cable operators will need as we introduce competitive interactive services, such as high-speed data and telephony," said Time Warner Cable Chief Technical Officer James Chiddix.
CableLabs, on behalf of its member companies, issued a request for information in August seeking input into the development of an open specification that would hasten the development and usage of this technology. This specification includes the Media Access Control (MAC) layer protocol, the physical layer (called PHY) protocol, and the transponder/electronic/mechanical specification. Work on the PHY layer and the transponder specification is expected to be completed by end of year.
A technical working group consisting of CableLabs, TCI, Time-Warner Cable, Jones Intercable, Cox Communications, Comcast, Continental Cablevision and Rogers Cablesystems Limited, developed the specifications using input received from manufacturers and developers of HFC plant equipment and monitoring systems.
The draft specification for the MAC layer protocol has been issued for comment. The MAC defines the means of controlling access to the transmission medium for orderly and efficient use of that capacity.
Draft PHY layer and transponder specifications will be made public for comments before year end. The PHY defines the mechanical, electrical, functional and procedural characteristics required to access the physical medium of a data network.
Among the suppliers contributing to this specification process to date are: Harmonic Lightwaves, ADC Telecommunications, Superior Electronics, Philips, Tollgrade Communications and C-COR.
CableLabs is a research and development consortium of cable television system operators representing more than 85% of the cable subscribers in the United States, 70% of the subscribers in Canada, and between five and 10% of cable subscribers in Mexico. CableLabs plans and funds research and development projects that will help cable companies take advantage of future opportunities and meet future challenges in the telecommunications industry. It also transfers relevant technologies to member companies and to the industry. In addition, CableLabs acts as a clearinghouse to provide information on current and prospective technological developments that are of interest to the cable industry.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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