CableLabs® Issues Specifications for Advanced IP Services Platform
Louisville, Colorado, April 6, 2006—CableLabs® has issued a series of specifications that will enable cable operators to deliver Internet Protocol (IP)-based communication and entertainment services to customers' televisions, personal computers, and fixed-line and mobile phones. The new specifications, part of what has been called PacketCable™, also enable delivery of advanced features such as real-time video communications to cable digital voice customers.
“This is a huge step for our industry in its quest to extend the IP service delivery capabilities of our network,” said Comcast Corporation Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, Mark Coblitz. “We are nearing a position of being able to provide IP services to a much greater range of consumer devices and that is exciting,” Coblitz added.
The specifications define, in detail, the communication interface requirements necessary for equipment manufacturers to develop interoperable products. This release covers areas such as existing standards-based SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), security, quality of service, network address translation (NAT) & firewall traversal, and device provisioning.
The specifications were developed in alignment with the Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture developed by the 3GPP—3rd Generation Partnership Project, a collaboration of a number of key telecommunications standards bodies. Using widely accepted standards-based protocols, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) SIP, these specifications will offer operators a flexible way to deploy network capabilities as required by their specific service offerings, while maintaining interoperability across a variety of devices from multiple suppliers.
“We have defined a complete IP service architecture that is capable of delivering voice, data, and video services to a variety of consumer devices over either fixed or mobile IP networks,” said Ed Miller, Vice President of Advanced Network Systems at CableLabs. “Aligning our architecture with developing standards such as SIP and IMS provides greater scale economics for all parties. This will simplify development for equipment manufacturers and greatly accelerate the availability of interoperable products and services.”
These documents extend the industry's PacketCable architecture, originally defined in 1999 and now widely deployed over cable broadband networks. According to recently published market data, nearly three million cable customers receive digital voice service from PacketCable-based networks with that number expected to grow to 6.5 million by year-end.
“The PacketCable specifications will provide the basis for open, multi-vendor solutions which will enable the industry to utilize the best of what the vendors have to offer in a flexible way,” said John Coppola, Director, DOCSIS® Technology and Engineering, Cox Communications, Inc. “I look forward to the commercial availability of these new generations of PacketCable products,” he added. Together, these specifications represent a comprehensive end-to-end solution for the delivery of multimedia services over a cable system. The specifications are the result of eighteen months of cooperative effort involving engineers from dozens of companies. The specifications are available at www.cablelabs.com or www.packetcable.com.
Several of the vendors participating in the PacketCable project already are developing products based on the specifications. Some of these products will be demonstrated in the CableNET® booth, a technology showcase that is co-sponsored by CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) at the The 2006 National Show, the annual convention and international exhibition of the NCTA. PacketCable is a CableLabs-led initiative aimed at developing interface specifications for delivering advanced, real-time multimedia services over two-way cable plant. Built on top of the industry's highly successful DOCSIS cable modem infrastructure, PacketCable networks use IP technology to enable a wide range of multimedia services, such as digital voice, multimedia conferencing, telecommuter services, and other integrated multimedia applications.
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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