In order to accomplish this broad objective, the PacketCable™ project consists of several sub-projects, each of which accomplishes a sub-set of the overall project objectives. Currently, PacketCable™ consists of the following: PacketCable™ 1.0 and 1.5, PacketCable™ Multimedia, and PacketCable™ 2.0.
- PacketCable™ 1.0 and 1.5: An End-to-End architecture for the delivery of digital voice telephone service over a DOCSIS® cable network.
- PacketCable™ Multimedia: An application independent QoS architecture for real-time IP based services.
- PacketCable™ 2.0: An End-to-End architecture for the delivery of enhanced residential and small/medium business digital voice services (including video telephony), and mobility services which also supports feature integration across service platforms.
PacketCable™ 1.0 and 1.5
PacketCable™ 1.0 defines an end-to-end architecture for the delivery of residential voice telephony over IP, commonly referred to as digital voice. The end-to-end architecture describes a complete system that includes: device provisioning, call signaling, event messaging (accounting), configuration management, QoS, PSTN interconnection, and security.
Several factors differentiate PacketCable residential voice telephony services from traditional “IP telephony” services. For example:
- PacketCable™ is a phone-to-phone service rather than a personal computer-based telephony service.
- PacketCable™ services are guaranteed priority delivery on the DOCSIS® access network ensuring a consistent, high-quality service.
- PacketCable™ services are not delivered over the public Internet. Cable operators deploying PacketCable™ use managed IP backbones that provide service delivery consistent with that of the DOCSIS® access network.
At a very high level, the PacketCable™ 1.0 architecture contains three networks: the “DOCSIS® HFC Access Network,” the “Managed IP Network” and the PSTN. The Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) provides connectivity between the “DOCSIS® HFC Access Network” and the “Managed IP Network.” Both the Signaling Gateway (SG) and the Media Gateway (MG) provide connectivity between the “Managed IP Network” and the PSTN. The high-level architecture for PacketCable™ 1.0 with defined network elements is shown in the Figure below.
The most current version of this architecture is defined in the PacketCable™ 1.5 specification release. In addition to containing all the functionality of PacketCable™ 1.0, PacketCable™ 1.5 extends the PacketCable™ residential voice capability with new capabilities such as Fax and Modem support, analog trunking for PBXs, and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for session management within and among PacketCable™ networks.
PacketCable™ MultimediaThe PacketCable™ Multimedia initiative defines an IP-based platform for delivering QoS-enhanced multimedia services over DOCSIS® 1.1 (or greater) access networks. This platform expands on the core capabilities of PacketCable™ 1.0 (e.g., QoS authorization and admission control, event messages for billing and other back-office functions, and security) to support a wide range of IP-based services beyond telephony. While the PacketCable™ 1.0 architecture is customized for the delivery of residential telephony services, the PacketCable™ Multimedia architecture offers a general-purpose platform for cable operators to deliver a variety of IP-based multimedia services that require QoS treatment. For this reason, specific services are not defined or addressed in this architecture.
Although the PacketCable™ Multimedia platform is based upon PacketCable™ 1.0 concepts, the full voice infrastructure defined in PacketCable™ 1.0 is not a prerequisite to the deployment of multimedia services. Rather, it is intended that a particular cable operator may choose to initially deploy either voice or multimedia services, with the assurance that these platforms will seamlessly integrate and interoperate if and when they are deployed in parallel.
A high-level architecture with PacketCable™ Multimedia network elements is shown in the Figure below.
PacketCable™ 2.0PacketCable™ 2.0 is a set of new specifications being developed by CableLabs, its member companies, and leading communications equipment vendors. The objective of this effort is to create an architecture that extends cable's existing Internet Protocol service environment to accelerate the convergence of voice, video, data, and mobility technologies.
The PacketCable™ 2.0 core service architecture is based on common standards technologies such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the IP Multimedia System (IMS). By utilizing a common core, application servers in the network are able to deliver services to a range of clients independent of the topology of the access network. Intentionally non-service specific, PacketCable™ 2.0 takes a modular approach and defines the functional elements and communication interfaces necessary to support a wide array of service types. CableLabs has defined a number of applications that utilize the PacketCable 2.0 core network such as residential SIP telephony, cellular integration, business services, and HD voice.