International Standardization Achieved for Cable Internet Protocol Architecture
Louisville, Colorado, May 22, 2001—The SCTE (Society for Cable Telecommunications Engineers) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) announced today that a suite of specifications defining an advanced IP architecture has been achieved. These specifications define an end-to-end system for delivery of communication services including telephony to the homes of cable customers. The system is based on Internet protocol (IP) and advanced packet transmission to solve the current problems of Internet based telephone calls. The IP-based cable architecture is referred to as "IPCablecom" and has found wide international support from standards organizations including ETSI, SCTE and the ITU-T.
The set of 12 IPCablecom documents defines the fundamental requirements for signaling, quality-of-service, codecs, client provisioning, billing event message collection, PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) interconnection, and security interfaces necessary to implement a single-zone IPCablecom solution for residential Internet protocol voice services. A zone is expected to typically support from the tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand subscribers. Eventually, IPCablecom service providers may interconnect their networks to form a national or even international footprint.
IPCablecom is seeing worldwide acceptance from both cable operators and manufacturers. CableLabs President and CEO, Dr. Richard R. Green stated: "In 1998 we were encouraged to bring the broadband modem work into the international standards bodies where it was well received. Today we see the overwhelmingly positive benefit this effort has had worldwide in the cable modem space. We hope to repeat this success story with the IPCablecom architecture that brings voice and other multi-media services to these high-speed, high-bandwidth cable modem access networks," said Green, who also chairs the relevant ITU-T Study Group 9 (SG-9, Integrated Broadband Cable Networks and Television and Sound Transmission).
SCTE has approved the full set of IPCablecom documents as a standard and that standard has become the purchase specification for cable operators throughout North and South America. The ITU-T approved the majority of the documents in March for worldwide use. ETSI has accepted and is continuing to develop the suite as a set of technical specifications and is using the ITU-T J.160 Recommendation as the framework to add European specific requirements.
CableLabs started a PacketCable initiative at the request of the North American, South American, Japanese, and European cable operator and vendor communities. This has evolved into IPCablecom. IPCablecom builds upon digital cable modem architectures specified in ITU Recommendation J.112 that was developed by SG-9 for global use. These alternative architectures are currently DOCSIS™ and EuroDOCSIS™ (Data over Cable Service Interface Specification), and the return channel for cable of the DVB project. For some time there has been cooperative work ongoing on high-speed cable modems and IPCablecom with ETSI.
ETSI is a "not-for-profit" organization having nearly 800 members from all industry sectors in 52 countries worldwide and has a mission to produce European telecommunications standards with global relevance much like SCTE does for North America. Further information on the structure and work of ETSI can be found at www.etsi.org. As part of the standards process, a global team of engineers and cable operators are working together to review the IPCablecom documents. They will add the extensions necessary to support national and regional requirements that may differ slightly from North American requirements, due to the existing infrastructure and standards.
"As the IP-based cable footprint expands globally, it is critical that we have IPCablecom standards to connect to cable networks worldwide. IPCablecom is beneficial to cable operators around the world for providing time-critical products and services using the IP protocol in the near-term and for providing global connectivity as we move forward," said Mark Coblitz, senior vice president of Strategic Planning at Comcast Corporation. "It is very exciting to see the IPCablecom recommendations approved as world standards," said Coblitz, who has served as top industry executive working with the CableLabs PacketCable project.
CableLabs® also has completed 2 PacketCable™ interoperability testing events, with the first started last year. Twelve vendors have participated in these testing events, demonstrating their PacketCable capabilities in the Cable Access Network portion of the cable industry's answer to voice over IP—embedded multi-media terminal adapters (MTA), cable modem termination systems (CMTS), and call management servers (CMS). Additional events for interoperability testing for these and additional PacketCable functional components will continue throughout 2001.
A newly configured certification board made up of CableLabs member representatives assesses the results of these testing waves and will convene after each PacketCable compliance event to examine the progress of PacketCable implementations. As those devices meet the board's criteria, they will be designated "PacketCable Qualified™".
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 additional web sites at www.cablenet.org and www.ebif.tv.
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