CableLabs® Announces PacketCable™ Specifications
Louisville, Colorado, December 2, 1998—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.(CableLabs®)announced today that several specifications from the cable industry's PacketCable™ project are entering draft stage and are undergoing widespread vendor review. These specifications address portions of the overall infrastructure required to provide quality-of-service packet differentiation, provisioning, call signaling, and security mechanisms.
PacketCable™ is a fast-track effort aimed at developing interoperable interface specifications for delivering advanced, real-time multimedia services over two-way cable plants. Built on top of the industry's highly successful data over cable service interface specification (DOCSIS) cable modem infrastructure, PacketCable™ networks will use Internet protocol (IP) technology to enable a wide range of multimedia services, such as home office PBX extensions, multimedia conferencing, interactive gaming, and general multimedia applications.
"This project is broadly focused on enabling the delivery of packet-based multimedia services via cable networks," said CableLabs® president and CEO Dr. Richard R. Green. "It's a perfect follow-on to the highly successful DOCSIS effort," he added.
"We are continuing to hit our dates for delivering specifications on PacketCable," said Mark Coblitz, vice president of strategic planning at Comcast and head of the PacketCable project. "I remain confident that within the next few years, we will have a highly productive distribution system for packet-based multimedia on our networks with software and hardware from many suppliers," he added.
The first in a series of specifications to be released publicly between now and 3Q1999, which detail the end-to-end PacketCable architecture, were announced today.
Developed jointly with a team of vendor-authors, the specifications draw significantly upon work being completed in the industry at large. These include efforts being undertaken in various standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task.
Developed jointly with a team of vendor-authors, the specifications draw significantly upon work being completed in the industry at large. These include efforts being undertaken in various standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Telecommunications and Internet Protocol Harmonization Over Networks (TIPHON) project.
The specifications completed to date lay a technical foundation that will enable cable operators to move ahead with their plans to provide competitive real-time services. These specifications include a simple and scaleable centralized call-control telephony model based upon the simple gateway control protocol (SGCP) that has been proposed to various standards bodies. As SGCP evolves toward the converged media gateway control protocol (MGCP), PacketCable™ enhancements are being incorporated directly where appropriate.
Mike LaJoie, vice president of Time Warner Cable Ventures, stated that: "The PacketCable specifications will accommodate multiple protocols because that is the optimal way for our industry to achieve this multimedia platform. Time Warner is committed to evolving a packet-based initiative for cable because to us, looking into the future, sending and receiving packets is the way the world is going."
Coming specifications�to be authored during the first half of 1999�will complete the end-to-end signaling and security aspects of the architecture thereby enabling field deployment trials. The specifications will also detail models that allow highly intelligent client devices to be served by a distributed network architecture. This architecture will provide the vehicle for new innovative multimedia service creation. By enabling a simple endpoint device and a complex endpoint device, the cable industry is addressing the needs of today's customers as well as tomorrow's high-powered multimedia users.
Keeping pace with creation of the specifications, CableLabs® has planned intensive testing and interoperability events throughout 1999. These events, which will take place once or twice monthly beginning 1Q1999, are designed to promote interoperability among vendors' products and to test the various PacketCable interfaces in a controlled environment.
Interested parties may review any of the listed PacketCable documents by signing a required non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with CableLabs®. All specifications will undergo one or more review cycles with all vendors that have signed the NDA (currently over 100) prior to release as an interim-status specification. To protect the copyright privileges of the PacketCable™ vendor-authors, the specifications will not be released publicly until they are moved from draft to interim status, currently scheduled for 1Q1999.
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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