Non-Profit Innovation and R&D Lab


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Virtualization

5 Things I Learned at OpenStack Summit Boston 2017

Randy Levensalor
Lead Architect, Wired Technologies

May 23, 2017

Recently, I attended OpenStack Summit in Boston with more than 5,000 other IT business leaders, cloud operators and developers from around the world. OpenStack is the leading open source software run by enterprises and public cloud providers and is increasingly being used by service providers for their NFV infrastructure. Many of the attendees are operators and vendors who collaboratively develop the platform to meet an ever-expanding set of use cases.

With over 750 sessions, it was impossible to see them all. Here are my top five takeaways and highlights of the event:

1. Edward Snowden's Opinions on Security and Open Source

In the biggest surprise of the event, Edward Snowden, former US NSA employee and self-declared liberator, joined us over a live video feed from an undisclosed location. He talked about the ethics and importance of the open source movement and how open source can be used to improve security and privacy.

Unlike vulnerabilities in proprietary software, those in open source are transparent. As a result, the entire community can learn from these exploits and how to prevent them in the future. Though not mentioned by Snowden, his rhetoric brought to mind the work done to secure OpenSSL after the heart bleed vulnerability was made public. This changed the way that core projects are managed. Snowden mentioned Apple’s iPhone as an example where vulnerabilities were found and the solution was not transparent:

“When Apple or Google has a bug, not only can we have no influence over the cure, but we don’t know anything about the cause and we don’t know what they have learned in effecting a cure. So, it’s not possible for everyone to use that knowledge to help build a better world for everyone.”

His talk brought applause from the audience and was a call to action as much as it was informative.

2. OpenStack is Helping Make the World Safer

The U.S. Army is using OpenStack to rapidly deliver the required curriculum for cyber command training and saving millions of dollars in the process. Using software development as an example, they created an agile development process where the instructors can improve the course rapidly and presented an example of their deployment of different virtual machines with malware and threat detection software. Instructors are able to create new content by submitting code to a source code repository and have it approved in less than a day. The new content is also available to graduates of the course in support of ongoing training. As a taxpayer, I can only hope that the other branches of the military will follow the Army’s lead in delivering the same innovative philosophy and process. These processes employed by the Army can be leveraged by service provides to deliver new services, apply security patches, and remedy service disruptions.

You can watch the keynote here and the in-depth talk below:

3. Lightweight OpenStack Control Planes for Edge Computing

OpenStack was designed to run large clouds managing thousands of servers in traditional data centers. Running OpenStack on a single local server allows service and OTT providers to manage CPEs using the same toolchain for managing VMs in their hosted cloud solutions.

Verizon’s keynote highlighting their uCPE is available here.

4. Aligning Container and Virtual Machine Technologies

My favorite forum session was a discussion to align VMs and containers. Containers address the application configuration and management challenges that are not as easily addressed with virtual machines. OpenStack can be used to manage the dependencies that containers need to run. In addition to the general summit proceeding, OpenStack has a forum format. You can learn more about the format here.

Leaders from both the OpenStack Nova team and the Linux Foundation’s Kubernetes were on the panel. Kubernetes performs many complementary and some overlapping tasks as OpenStack. Because Kubernetes was developed several years after Nova, they improved on some of the similar features.

CableLabs hosted an OpenStack Users Group meeting recently on the same subject called "OpenStack & Containers: Better Together".

5. Data Plane Acceleration 

With the growth of OpenStack in the service provider space, the focus to move packets from point A to point B is as critical as ever. Open vSwitch continues to be a popular choice, and with the addition of DPDK support, they are reducing the latency involved with process packets in a virtualized network. Tapio Tallgren, the chair of OPNFV’s Technical Steering Committee, provides some results of testing DPDK with OPNFV. As many of you may know, CableLabs SNAPS project leverages OPNFV as a foundation. The Yardstick performance testing project, which Tapio discusses in his blog post Snaps-OO Open Sourced Collaborative Development Resource, is in the process of migrating many of their scenarios to leverage our SNAPS-OO utility.

FD.io is the newest player for accelerating the data plane. Their testing results in the lab are remarkable, and we are beginning to see some adoption for use in production. There was even a 1-day training session dedicated solely to FD.io.

With demos, product launches, and informative talks, OpenStack Summit Boston 2017 was a huge success. I hope to see you at the next one! If you have any questions about OpenStack don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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Innovation

Innovation Boot Camp May 2017: Is This Really a Boot Camp or an Innovation Cruise Ship?

Michelle Vendelin
Director, Innovation Services

May 11, 2017

Last week 12 brave souls embarked on a journey to learn the ways of innovation, push themselves to generate breakthrough ideas, and pitch those ideas to a panel of professional investors - all in less than 5 days!! The experience is called Innovation Boot Camp and only occurs 2 times per year, typically in the Denver Area or Silicon Valley. The theme of this Boot Camp was Wireless Mobile Services: Taking Innovation from Theory to Reality. CableLabs hosts this one-of-a-kind hands-on experience with the help of battle-tested innovators who share the strategies, structure, and secrets of going beyond the obvious....or is it more than that?

The unknowing recruits

The brave 12 entered the boot camp strangers, but with a common desire to learn and BE innovators. One of us was even back for a 2nd time ready to take his practice to a new level. Through our shared experience and the challenges of going beyond our comfort zones, we became fast friends, had fun, and are now part of a growing “innovation boot camper community” from within the Cable/Wireless industry and beyond. (Did I mention the all-inclusive nature of the event?  Whoa!) We enjoyed great meals and were transported by Limo Vans to San Francisco for amazing visits to Autodesk & Salesforce to learn not only HOW these iconic companies innovate, but also to get a glimpse of the all-important mindset of an innovator.

The teachers arrive when the student is ready

The boot camp staff was impressive. They challenged and cheered us along doing the work and practicing breakthrough innovation each day. Our Top Gun instructor was the renowned innovator, best-selling author, and CEO of CableLabs, Phil McKinney. He shared his FIRE framework, his daily innovation practices, and stories that would curl your toes. He also did strategic flybys all week that gave us the opportunity to easily connect with and observe a great role model.

Next, we got to work with Phil’s team of experts (directed by Christian Pape, CableLabs VP Innovation) and immediately applied new skills in FOCUS, IDEATION, RANKING, and EXECUTION in a well-orchestrated set of exercises and drills. (This was NOT a simulation!!!) We focused on “Mobile Wireless Services” and received a precision briefing from Industry Expert, Vijay Venkateswaran of Viventum. Within hours we were dining with real consumers validating the big problems we sensed needed to be solved — for those who rarely speak to customers, this was a rare treat.

The transformation

Many of us could barely sleep that night with visions of invention dancing in our heads.  (That’s a good thing!)  The transformation had officially begun.  The next day, we ideated and ranked until our brains were ready to explode.

We were placed into squads (smaller teams) and had to learn fast how to give our best, collaborate, and help each other generate success. It was both intense and exhilarating at times. Later that night we attended a public pitch night (one of many that occur nightly here in Silicon Valley). It was kind of like watching Shark tank, but LIVE! We saw four interesting companies practice the “Art of the Pitch” to a panel of seasoned investors. After witnessing this, we knew what we were in for — the next stage of our journey, developing our chosen breakthrough idea far enough to pitch it to actual investors and innovation mentors.

But not to worry, our boot camp leaders ensured we were well equipped for the challenge. With additional briefings from a Design Thinking Expert Scott Underwood, Intrapreneur extraordinaire Harry Sang and Pitch Meister/CEO of UpRamp, Scott Brown we became clear, creative, and confident. On the LAST day, our four squads delivered impressive pitches and answered thoughtful questions from a savvy panel. It was a remarkable experience watching people go from strangers to visionaries. All I can say is — Wow!!

What was that??

So, is Innovation boot camp truly a boot camp of intense training with top guns OR a cruise ship on an all-inclusive voyage for the innovation experience of your life.? I think it’s a bit of both. Once you innovate this way, you can NEVER go back to the status quo! And, you build relationships that are memorable, as you do get to know people a lot better than in a typical conference setting. To learn more about past Innovation Boot Camps, see our blog posts Innovation Starts Now and Learning to Innovate: The Innovation Boot Camp.

Please plan to join a future “Innovation Boot Camp,” so you can bring the innovation mindset and practice back to your world, and join our innovative community.  Stay tuned for Fall 2017 dates in the Denver/Boulder area of Colorado.

Michelle Vendelin just joined CableLabs last month and was tossed almost immediately into Boot Camp.  She is the Director of Innovation Services working with CableLabs and the member community to take Boot Camp and future Innovation Services to new heights. She is eager to hear ideas, feedback or interests, so please don’t hesitate to reach out directly or share your questions/comments. 

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Innovation

NCTA & CableLabs Hosted The Near Future Conference & Delighted the Crowd

Rachel Beisel
VP Marketing & Communications

May 4, 2017

Today’s event brings together innovators who will share with you the near future. A future that will build upon networks that we as an industry are already building.

- CEO and President of CableLabs Phil McKinney, The Near Future 2017

What does the near future look like? Make no mistake - it's already (virtually) here. It unfolded before our eyes on April 27, 2017, at Union Market Dock 5 in Washington DC at the first Near Future forum. Co-sponsored by NCTA (The Internet and Television Association) and CableLabs, the immersive experience was created to showcase next generation technology enabled by the cable industry.

Attended by a mix of technology professionals, visionaries, policy experts, and media leaders, the event featured a wide range of speakers and live demos. These included virtual, mixed and augmented reality, an ‘intelligent agent’ (AI precursor), an autonomous vehicle, and next gen (non-VR) video exhibits exploring the four pillars of human technological interconnectivity - the way we live, work, learn, and play. All of which are powered by cable broadband.

The day opened with NCTA President and co-host Michael Powell declaring it the “un-conference”. Rather than scripted interviews and lengthy speeches, audience members were invited to interact with some of the awe-inspiring technologies that massive bandwidth and computational power make possible. Attendees could fly over city landscapes using their arms and legs with Birdly, explore a model of Local Motors’ 3D printed self-driving shuttle bus named Olli, fly through space with Positron's egg-shaped Voyager Platform, explore 3D buildings and cities with Taqtile’s 3D “HoloMaps”, or interact virtually with a holographic projection of a Holocaust Survivor in real time.

Near Future Event Positron

The highlights of the day included conversations with the visionary thinkers at the forefront of these emerging platforms. Beginning with PLAY, Google VR Senior Engineer Paul Debevec waxed poetic about cinematic virtual reality technology and light scanning to digitize humans. This technique was used in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and the first ever 3D presidential portrait. He went on to explain that the digital faces created for movies, television, and video games are now so sophisticated that photorealistic environments in virtual reality will soon be available.

The Near Future

Ted Schilowitz, a futurist for 20th Century Fox, emphasized that society is more ready for VR than ever due to our reliance on smartphones for everyday tasks like memory and directions. Senior Vice President of Technicolor/MPC Timothy Dodd highlighted the potential of mixing virtual reality and game engines, changing the color of a Camaro on screen and video in real time with no latency.

Taking us to WORK, Eric Yan, CEO of Zoom, explained how VR will transform video conferencing and the remote workplace by enhancing collaboration and engagement among team members. Ricardo Poupada, CEO of 5th Wall, a virtual and augmented reality marketing studio, talked about how immersive VR will revolutionize the human experience in everything from retail to real estate to medical services to entertainment.

Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson, Rob High, invited the audience to go back to school in the LEARN segment. He demoed a future classroom, where, through the power of AI, instructors transformed into the greatest thinkers throughout history. In the same vein, David Traum, director of Natural Language Research at USC Institute for Creative Technology, spoke about students learning history in real time from real people, using the virtual reality Holocaust survivor as an example.

In the LIVE segment, Dr. Wyatt Decker, Emergency specialist and VP at the Mayo Clinic, emphasized the need for 3D printing, virtual reality, genomics, robotics, and data mining to revolutionize the medical industry - creating low-cost patient-friendly solutions in the process. He used the examples of biomimicry of robotic limbs for amputee patients, 3D printed organs, and functional MRI’s. Audience members watched in wonderment as a video was shown of a patient having brain surgery while playing the piano. This allowed surgeons to stay away from the structures involved with the piano playing while removing her brain tumor. To read more about the connection between cable and healthcare read our blog post: Cable Connects with Health Care by CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown. 

The Near Future emphasized that broadband is the catalyst for innovation in services and apps. The demos and speakers all highlighted the amazing technology we have in the present and the future possibilities of the high-speed, low latency networks that connect our homes, businesses, and mobile devices. The spirit of the forum was reiterated by host Kym McNicholas at the closing of the event: “The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Don’t let what you don’t know get in the way of innovation. It’s this out of the box thinking that makes the impossible, possible."

This conference was based on our Near Future video

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For more information on cable broadband, policy, and network innovation outpacing application innovation check out this Insights paper we wrote on the gigabit evolution and read this interview with CEO & President of CableLabs Phil McKinney. If you’d like to know more about the Near Future event visit TheNearFutureNetwork and NCTA’s Twitter feed @NCTAitv. You can watch the conference in its entirety below.

 

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News

CableLabs Goes Down Under

Chris Lammers
Chief Operating Officer

Apr 27, 2017

In a bit of alright, CableLabs recently welcomed Australia’s National Broadband Network (nbn) – as our 56th member — and our first in Australia.  CableLabs now has members across five continents — adding Australia to Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Established by the Australian government in 2009 to design, build and operate Australia's new broadband network, nbn is unique among CableLabs members as a Layer 2 network which wholesales access to Retail Service Providers (RSPs).  With the nbn network currently passing 4.6 million premises, approximately 50 RSPs are providing service to 2 million end user customers.  nbn plans to extend its network to 12 million premises by 2020 – and will serve 8 million end user customers through its RSPs.

nbn is unique in another fundamental way.  It is comprised of several heterogeneous network technologies, including fixed networks employing HFC, DSL and fiber (FTTx), together with wireless networks (fixed and satellite).  Through a strategy titled “Multi Technology Mix,” nbn is a “network of networks” which integrates and optimizes these technologies to maximize speed of rollout, optimize economic return and enhance flexibility. This flexibility is at the heart of nbn’s strategy to provide access to fast broadband to all Australians as soon as possible.

By the end of 2018, nbn will deploy DOCSIS 3.1 in its HFC network, joining a growing number of CableLabs’ members across Canada, Europe and the U.S. who are deploying DOCSIS 3.1 multi-gigabit technology.  These deployments will help deliver new customer experiences that are faster and more efficient. Examples of the improved experience include:

  • 10Gbps downstream and up to 1Gbps upstream network capacity
  • Improved responsiveness for applications such as online gaming and video streaming
  • Ability to transmit up to 50 percent more data over the same spectrum, on existing HFC networks
  • Increased cable modem energy efficiency through advanced energy management protocols

For more information about nbn, please visit http://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/about-nbn-co.html.

 

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Healthcare

Medical Grade Connectivity: How IoT Drives Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Michael Glenn
VP of Cybersecurity

Apr 20, 2017

The connected world that is enabling the digital transformation of our lives and society is pervasive. So often, people view the radical transitions as dehumanizing – that technology moving us further from each other, making our relationships more distant and our interactions impersonal. However, this really doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny when we consider the context of our whole lives. We’ve never been so connected to people and information – and we are becoming more engaged every day. We are able to stay in touch with family and friends more easily; share experiences even though distant; share intimate ideas over phones even when sitting next to each other. Like so many important areas of our lives, the realization of the connected world is also transforming healthcare. CableLabs hosted an Inform[ED] symposium to investigate how connected healthcare is evolving and what technical challenges it must overcome. Attended by a fantastic mix of technical professionals, visionaries, and subject matter experts, the overwhelming consensus was that emerging technologies and pervasive networking will reinvent healthcare. The result will be an even more humane and caring system, accessible to more and more people at even lower cost.

The connected healthcare event was opened by Simon Kos, Chief Medical Officer of Microsoft. He set the tone for the day, demonstrating how technology is fundamentally changing society as it becomes more accessible, affordable and capable. His view was on our total health – not just during episodic care with clinicians, but our overall quality of life as we cope with the challenges of living. To organize his storytelling, he used the Quadruple Aim framework and presented examples to examine technology innovation along the dimensions of engaging patients, empowering care teams, optimizing clinical and operational effectiveness and transforming the care continuum. His examples resonated with the views and ideas of other presenters and panelists throughout the day.

Transforming Healthcare Through Interoperability and Data Liquidity

Security concerns are very real, as discussed by a panel of Corporate Information Security Officers (CISOs) moderated by Ram Ramadoss of Catholic Health Initiatives. Panelists included Cyrus Malbari of Abbott, Kathy Hughes of Northwell Health, and Timothy Torres of Sutter Health.  The rash of ransomware incidents against thousands of hospitals globally demonstrates the severity of the threat environment. Yet, as Mr. Ramadoss discussed with his panel, they can’t control threats. Rather they work to control weaknesses. Some weaknesses are obvious and yet have been very hard to fully mitigate – phishing, being too open with system administrator privileges, exposing sensitive systems to risks by using them for personal activities such as email. Others are not so obvious. Kathy Hughes pointed out that the focus on care tends to decentralize IT – with the result that a large percentage of devices connected to the care network may not even be known to security teams. Timothy Torres said one way his organization found that works to deal with this challenge was to incentivize purchasing devices through correct channels. The panelists all felt that device security certification could be a major improvement in ensuring securable devices were used to provide care. And they cited potential savings in cyber security insurance as a result.

A discussion point that was visited throughout the day was data liquidity. The concept of data liquidity is not synonymous with interoperability, though related. Rather, data liquidity is about ensuring actionable access to health information by whomever needs it. This is a differentiating challenge in healthcare. As Kerry McDermott and Jeff Smith highlighted in the legal and regulatory panel, medical devices are regulated by a plethora of federal agencies. No other industry has the same mix of privacy and security requirements while at the same the ability to produce such rich and valuable data that, applied to the right algorithms and made available to the right person at the right time can save lives while lowering costs.

Fireside Chat with Ed Cantwell

Ed Cantwell and Ed Miller, both from the Center for Medical Interoperability, observed that interoperability and security in connected devices are interdependent. Security functions between devices must be interoperable, and insecure connectivity doesn’t provide practical interoperability. Ed Cantwell went further, describing secure interoperability need to be approached as a utility – a fundamental capability that must exist to support evolving practices in health care. This idea was similar to ideas shared during the IoT Security Inform[ED], where Brian Scriber of CableLabs asserted that code and practices to secure IoT devices and systems should be developed collaboratively and then shared freely.

Ed Cantwell also shared that he thinks blockchain technologies have a role to play here. Blockchains are designed to address trust in a way directly applicable to healthcare, providing a basis for security, privacy, control, transparency, and compliance.

Innovation in Connected Healthcare

The final speakers painted a bright future, discussing in depth how digital transformation will refocus healthcare on the patient, humanizing care. Summer Knight of Firecracker was particularly eloquent, sharing her passion and drive to show how the cable industry can be pivotal in providing medical grade connectivity. She feels that the evolving connectivity will engage and empower individuals and their family as part of the healthcare team as we hardwire humanity at every point of care. Medical grade connectivity can provide the platform for customer engagement and activation, putting the patient in the center of all decisions. The opportunity for contribution from cable is significant. Remote monitoring can reduce costs by as much as $8400/year per patient. Coupled with other critical functions, the near term opportunity for cable operators is over $200 billion annually, supporting a total addressable market of over 170 million people.

This was a very informative event. It brought stakeholders together to chart how we can achieve a bright future in providing secure, connected health. Working together, the cable industry and health care industry can lower the per capital cost of care and we can improve the wellness of populations by making access easier. Medical grade connectivity will improve the patent experience and change how we assess success in providing care as we transition the business focus from fee-for-service to a focus on positive results. We can empower care teams in new ways, ensuring quicker care that allows us to treat patients better and increase the likelihood of excellent outcomes.

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Security

The Benefits and Challenges of a Connected World

Michael Glenn
VP of Cybersecurity

Apr 18, 2017

On April 12, CableLabs hosted an Inform[ED] conference in NYC focused on the emerging IoT security landscape. This open event brought together business leaders, key technologists, and security experts from multiple industry sectors, academia, and government. They shared in-depth views of IoT's evolution and the increasing security, privacy and policy challenges arising from the ongoing and rapidly accelerating deployment of connected devices.

Billions of new devices lead to an increased threatspace

Shawn Henry of Crowdstrike, a retired executive assistant director of the FBI, set the stage for our experts for the rest of the day. His focus and ideas were repeated and supported throughout the event by speakers and panelists. Security threats pose significant challenges to IoT, with real risk to individuals, businesses, and national security. The threats come from terrorist and organized crime groups along with other nation states. New extremist groups such as the Cyber Califate extend activities of terrorists into a cyber Jihad. Organized crime groups focus on theft of personal identifying information they can monetize, targeting capabilities critical to businesses as they evolve extortion.

Criminals target IoT, losing essential data or the ability to use critical devices unless asset owners pay financial compensation to retrieve. A major example is the rash of ransomware targeting hospitals. And, of course, there have been attacks by nation states, notably attributed to North Korea and Iran. All three types of adversaries steal data, change data, and destroy data to achieve their own ends. However, the IoT benefits are worth investment in effort and resources to protect, and IoT security needs to assess the risks posted by bad actors, mitigating vulnerabilities appropriately.

Collaborating on standards and public policy

IoT risk management is also a concern among policymakers, who take notice when insecure devices impact networks and services. Matt Tooley of NCTA discussed with Allan Friedman of the NTIA the agencies' efforts to galvanize all relevant parties toward solutions through a multi-stakeholder process. Gerald Faulhaber of the Wharton School, Chaz Lever of Georgia Tech, and Jason Livingood of Comcast agreed on the need for broadly shared responsibility for IoT security, and Professor Faulhaber noted some form of government oversight may be forthcoming, though the model is unclear. While certification of devices may provide some key elements we need, it's important we understand policy will likely be slow to evolve. This means businesses, including service providers, device manufacturers and others must evolve their security strategies as adversaries evolve their methods of attacking IoT. Industry-driven solutions will continue to provide the most agile responses to new threats.

Threat mitigation

The team of security experts that came together at CableLabs’ Inform[ed] event are working hard to manage risks and mitigate threats. We heard great insights from Dylan Davis of RiskSense, Terry Dunlap of Tactical Network Solutions, James Plouffe of MobileIron and technical consultant to the popular Mr. Robot series, Dan Massey of the DHS Security & Technology directorate, Tobin Richardson from the Zigbee Alliance, and Matt Perry from Microsoft also the OCF Board of Directors President. Service provider experts includes Brian Rexroad of AT&T, Clarke Stevens of Shaw Communications, and Rich Compton of Charter Communications. This fantastic body of experts provided substantive insight into the IoT security challenge and what needs to be done to protect our infrastructure, data, and user experiences. One of the common themes of the conference — how to secure IoT devices and the infrastructures that connect them – kept resonating throughout the day. We just need to do it. There aren’t that many surprises here — as Brian Scriber of CableLabs provocatively summed up in the final key.

  • Encouraging manufacturers to implement well designed and securable code, and enabling the security capabilities and features we know to use in other technology areas.
  • It is critical to protect people and devices during onboarding, the process of joining networks and configuring devices and services properly as they are first installed. We need strong device and personal identity methods, enabled through public key infrastructure solutions.
  • Our communications and device operations need to ensure confidentiality and integrity while also ensuring appropriate levels of availability.
  • Finally, devices must be fully supported throughout their life cycle, and this must include upgradable security and dynamic patching of vulnerabilities.

Our industry knows how to do these things — we've got over 30 years of experience securing our networks and IT systems. The lessons learned are still relevant and should be applied to the broader IoT ecosystem. But, we still see common errors like use of known insecure protocols and use of devices that don't require strong authentication, or even include default credentials so anybody knowledgeable of the device can log on. And people can find those devices through services such as Shodan — a very common theme through the day. There are opportunities for improvement such as better measurement and monitoring capabilities. Applying the benefits of data science and big data practices will help detect vulnerabilities and anomalies faster.    Further, highly automated strategies to patch and reconfigure devices and networks will enable us to address threats quickly. Security's goal is to make attacking IoT sufficiently expensive so adversaries lose interest. Make it too hard or too expensive for bad actors to exploit IoT for nefarious gains.

These business, technology and policy experts provided actionable guidance, making this a unique event – and the audience and panelists left positive and confident that IoT security can be meaningfully improved if all parties share responsibility. Working collaboratively, we can ensure our customers have great experiences that enrich their lives. And we know what needs to be done. We just need to get working together to make it happen.

 

Join us for Innovation Bootcamp

CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney and the CableLabs team will host Innovation Boot Camp in Silicon Valley and provide a highly-focused, hands-on experience to give you the tools needed to identify, develop and pitch an innovation project.

REGISTER NOW

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Kyrio

NDA Vendor Forum Takeaways: Working with Kyrio

Mitchell Ashley
President & General Manager, Kyrio

Apr 12, 2017

Guest blog post by Mitchell Ashley, President and General Manager of Kyrio. Last week I had the privilege of unveiling the new Kyrio at the NDA Vendor Forum. The NDA Vendor Forum is an annual event for us to brief the supplier community on all the activities at CableLabs, Kyrio and UpRamp. It’s a great opportunity to get up to speed on where the industry is headed and its priorities. As the leading innovation resource for everything networkable we provide technology solutions and enable new marketplaces for safer, better and faster ways to network. So businesses and their customers can thrive.

(more…)

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Wireless

Momentum Builds for 3.5 GHz Mobility in 2018

Pete Smyth
VP, Core Innovations

Mar 30, 2017

What is the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service?
Last year, the U.S. allocated 150 MHz of spectrum for fixed and mobile broadband use under the newly-created Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3550-3700 MHz band. To put 150 MHz of bandwidth into perspective, this is roughly equivalent to the total spectrum that each of the Big 4 U.S. wireless operators have licensed to date.  With 10 MHz channels, this is ideal for LTE TDD and small cells with transmitter powers of 1W/10 MHz EIRP for indoor use and as high as 50W/10 MHz EIRP in rural locations. This is great for MSOs who have the key locations, backhaul and power where people use data, either inside buildings or outside via their external cable infrastructure. For example, in metro areas, MSOs can place 10W/10MHz EIRP small cells on cable strands for great coverage. It is the first time that fixed operators will be allowed to use LTE in unlicensed spectrum.

CBRS is the world’s first three-tier spectrum sharing framework in which one or more Spectrum Access Systems (SASs) will actively manage 1) incumbents, 2) priority access licensed (PAL) users, and 3) general authorized access (GAA) users. Basically, the SAS will tell the Access Points, called CBRS Devices (CBRDs), which channels to use to avoid interference to other users in a given geographical area. CBRS contains both licensed spectrum, with seven PAL channels, and unlicensed spectrum, with eight GAA channels, in over 73K census tract areas across the US. The PAL license period is three years with an initial right to renew for a further three years. In areas where the auction for PAL is unsuccessful, all this spectrum becomes available as unlicensed (GAA).

Incumbents in the band include shipborne radars operated by the Department of Defense and receive-only fixed-satellite service earth stations. Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), utilities, and other terrestrial users currently in the 3650-3700 MHz segment are required to transition from 50 MHz of spectrum to 150 MHz of CBRS. The main issue for use of 3.5 GHz in the coastal regions of the U.S. is the detection of shipborne radars used by approximately 30 U.S. naval carriers. However, these ships are normally stationed globally. To detect the arrival of one of these ships on either the East or West coasts of the U.S. requires building an Environmental Sensing Capacity (ESC) – a radar detection network. The ESC will inform the SAS which channels the radar is located on in a given area so that current users are moved to adjacent channels. Normally, the radars will only occupy one or two channels over a relativity small geographical area containing the current location of the ship. The rest of the spectrum is available to all.

Momentum for 3.5 GHz

The U.S. wide commercial timeline for 3.5 GHz use is dictated by the availability of the SASs, ESCs, commercial grade network equipment, and capable end-user devices. The recent Mobile World Congress (MWC 2017) in Barcelona, Spain showcased  the status of many of these time critical components. CableLabs hosted its own workshop there, inviting several of the key players in the 3.5 GHz space.  Many companies on the show floor demonstrated their readiness for 3.5 GHz.

Of course, the guarantee of success is not only the availability of technology but also the willingness of key players to adopt and bring consensus support for the opportunity - particularly for a U.S. specific band where wide adoption is key. In particular, this is key for the most important component of the technology – the smart phone. Recently, Verizon committed to 3.5 GHz in an interview with FierceWireless.

Equally, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T are eyeing LTE deployment in the 3.5 GHz band. All four of the US mobile network operators are members of the CBRS Alliance which is driving the LTE TDD use of this band for mobile.  CableLabs was one of the first organizations to join to help set the direction of CBRS for our members. Charter and Comcast are now also members bringing key MSO support.

The collection of these mobile operators and the larger MSOs with interest in 3.5 GHz will help create the interest among the tier one handset vendors, such as Apple and Samsung, to support this band. Actually, at MWC 2017, Sony has already announced the support of band 42 in their new handset for Asia which supports the first 50 MHz of the CBRS band. One terminal research web site, The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (gsacom.com), claims that the new Samsung Galaxy 8 in April will also support band 42 at its launch. This is compelling since it means the engineering “tweaking” of the handset antennas has largely been solved. Beside these antennas, the silicon support of 3.5 GHz has already been achieved by Qualcomm in their latest Snapdragon modem released in October of last year. All of this bodes well for 2018 and handset support of the new CBRS band 48.

Outside the key handset issue, it is expected that the SASs and ESCs will be up and running at the end of 2017, promising full spectrum availability across the U.S. in 2018. The PAL auctions are expected towards the middle to end of 2018, but in the meantime operators will have access to all the spectrum as GAA.

Again, there was no shortage at MWC 2017 of the availability of Access Points (CBRDs) both for indoor and external use from the likes of AirSpan, Accelleran, Juni, Nokia and Sercom. And, I am sure I missed others there as well.

On the SAS side, Federated Wireless and Google are probably the leading SAS providers at the moment. However, besides Federated and Google, other WinnForum members which were successful in gaining licenses from the FCC in the first phase include Amdocs, Comsearch, CTIA, Keybridge and Sony. The WinnForum is driving the standards for the SAS and SAS to SAS interconnections. Again, here CableLabs is also a member.

Customer Propositions

BGR found last year that the average speed of LTE in the U.S. was only 10 Mbps, placing us at number 55 in the World with Singapore at number one with an average speed of 37 Mbps according to OpenSignal’s data. Here the customers needs are met by external macro-cellular networks which lose speed as they pass thru walls. However, locating small cells inside buildings, where 80% of mobile data is consumed today, can offer speeds as high as 570 Mbps if all of the GAA spectrum (80 MHz) is used with 4x4 MIMO. Even with access to just two channels, 20 MHz, this will offer 7 times faster than the average LTE network here according to CableLabs testing with 2x2 MIMO. But why stop there? We can aggregate 3.5 GHz and WiFi to reach a potential 1.4 Gbps.

CableLabs’ UpRamp Fiterator® has already identified one company, Trinity Mobile Networks, which uses Multipath TCP to aggregate both WiFi and Macro cell LTE networks to combine the speed of both. While in 2015, SK Telecom in Korea launched “Giga cells” which combines their WiFi network with LTE to reach 1.17 Gbps speeds in Android phones.

And Finally, One Last Thought

3.5 GHz offers the potential for US operators to offer 5G connection speeds years before 5G! All of this bodes well for an exciting 2018 for 3.5 GHz and for our members to take advantage of this spectrum for both mobile and fixed plays. Remember everything is wireless and wireless is everything!

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Innovation

Innovation Starts Here and Now

Christian Pape
Vice President, Innovation Office

Mar 22, 2017

From ideation to pitch, CableLabs’ Innovation Boot Camp is an immersive learning experience that will boost your ability to achieve repeatable, scalable innovations that differentiate your organization in a highly competitive world.

Innovation Boot Camp will be held May 1-5 at CableLabs’ Silicon Valley location in Sunnyvale, CA, hosted by Phil McKinney and the CableLabs’ Innovation Team.

Focus, Ideate, Rank and Execute

You will learn an effective framework for transforming your ideas into value while engaging customers, and experienced innovators as you gain hands-on experience.  Along the way, you’ll hone your ability to develop a customer-centric understanding of a problem and ask the essential questions to help your team generate disruptive new ideas.  This unique experience includes:

  • exercises to practice the essential skills for successful innovation
  • overcoming innovation obstacles (internal and external)
  • presenting your idea to get it adopted

Past Innovation Boot Camp participants have praised this event for equipping them to address real-world innovation challenges more effectively and develop the skills to overcome the obstacles that they and their teams faced.

“Innovation Boot Camp gave me the structure I needed to move from idea to implementation”

“…an excellent way to immerse yourself in a truly innovative experience”

During the course of the event, participants will identify and interact with target customers and peers, engage with and hear from innovation leaders/practitioners, and participate in a tour of Silicon Valley companies whose innovations have made them leaders in their respective markets.

Apply Now

Join us May 1-5 in Silicon Valley to learn how you can build on your existing skills, and add to your toolbox. Application and more details are available here.

Contact Christian Pape with any questions about this event or your innovative practices.

By Christian Pape, Innovation Office, Vice President, CableLabs —

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Virtualization

SNAPS-OO is an Open Sourced Collaborative Development Resource

Randy Levensalor
Lead Architect, Wired Technologies

Mar 21, 2017

In a previous blog, I have provided an overview of the SNAPS platform which is CableLabs’ SDN/NFV Application development Platform and Stack project. The key objectives for SNAPS are to make it much easier for NFV vendors to onboard their applications, provide transparent APIs for various kinds of infrastructure and reduce the complexity of integration testing.

I am thrilled to share our latest SNAPS success.  We have written an OpenStack API abstraction library that also contains many automated tests and we have contributed it to the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) project at the Linux Foundation.  OPNFV is a project where service providers and network vendors collaborate to improve the capabilities and adoption of open source Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Our results have also been shared at NFV World Congress, SDN World Congress, OPNFV Summit [video], Open Networking Summit (ONS) [video] [pdf] and the Big Communications Event (BCE).

The Rationale for our Approach

CableLabs has deep expertise developing specifications by following a collaborative, iterative approach.  In many ways, the open source software development process mirrors many of these specification development processes.  In the open source communities, CableLabs provides source code and feedback coming from our integration and debugging activity.  In fact, CableLabs contributions are included in key open source projects such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight.  In this way, we are making it easier for vendors to use open source projects to build solutions for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.

We have generated practical knowledge and insights through our hands-on experience of building and operating an active SDN/NFV application development lab.  And we took vendor neutrality to the next level by basing our software stack on purely open source solutions and based on the OPNFV reference configuration.  We did not use versions of OpenStack, OpenDaylight, etc. that have been tested and customized by a vendor.  This allowed us to interact with a much larger community for new features and fixes.

The CableLabs team supported by vendors and services providers has moved our project into OPNFV as “SNAPS-OO”, based on the idea that it is an Object Oriented way to work with our SDN/NFV Application development Platform and Stack.  The project was quickly accepted and is now being used by the release testing team to verify each OPNFV build.  With the integration of SNAPS-OO into the OPNFV FuncTest project, our contributions are now part of the release criteria and suite of tests that will be used at the upcoming OPNFV PlugFest next month.

Some of the benefits that SNAPS-OO delivers are:

  • Ease of use for new developers
  • A rich library of example applications and test suites
  • Support for accessing multiple secured clouds
  • Automated cleanup of the NFVI when updates are applied
  • Quick identification of component failure(s)

As a result of this open source approach, and in just a few weeks since SNAPS-OO was released, we have seen a significant increase in the level of contributions and adoption.

Next Steps

  • Continue to expand the capabilities supported by SNAPS-OO.
  • Encourage additional OPNFV projects to use SNAPS-OO.
  • Use SNAPS-OO and other tools to run much more sophisticated SDN/NFV workloads.
  • Share SNAPS-OO with more open source communities.

How SNAPS-OO Benefits Our Membership

SNAPS-OO is helping to improve the quality of the open source projects associated with the NFV infrastructure and Virtualization Infrastructure Managers that many members are using today and plan to use in the future.  SNAPS-OO can be used to validate that the infrastructure is installed properly and it will be playing a key role in the Kyrio NFV Interoperability lab.  Future NFV development provided by vendors will benefit from the use of SNAPS-OO.  With the variety of workloads that we will be running on our SNAPS platform, we will be able to specify a single configuration that can run future NFV workloads alongside other cloud hosted applications.

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