Find your path to the latest cable technologies
The technical workshops at Cable-Tec Expo will be offered: Monday, Sept. 26, Tuesday, Sept. 27, Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29. The Cable-Tec Expo program committee has grouped the technical workshops into 5 track areas to help you customize your experience. Or, view the workshops listed by day
GIGABIT - HFC
GIGABIT - FIBER
|VIDEO SERVICES||SDN/NFV||ENERGY MANAGEMENT/
Track: Delivering Gigabit – HFC
Machine Learning in Network Operations
The health of the network is a perennially important question for all operators. Big Data analytics and Machine Learning techniques will help to answer it — with new and powerful tools, which can rapidly identify and isolate system and performance-level issues. Great for MSO troubleshooting activities, these tools also heighten Quality-of-Experience (QoE) levels for customers. This actionable session features a treasure trove of topics about machine learning, from identifying degraded or failed components within distributed, cloud-based environments, to pinpointing the sources and locations of network outages.
Beyond DOCSIS 3.1: FDX and More
The bandwidth balm that is DOCSIS 3.1 will likely meet MSOs’ capacity requirements for the foreseeable future (whew!), but the global appetite for bandwidth (especially in the upstream) makes it vital to seek solutions beyond DOCSIS 3.1. This workshop will explore Remote PHY architectures, Full Duplex DOCSIS (what!), and extended frequency ranges for DOCSIS. Plus: Expanding the coaxial spectrum to multi-GHz, and combining DOCSIS with wireless. Bonus: Traffic engineering and plant analysis of service group densities will be provided for several of these approaches.
Converging Fixed & Wireless Access
If someone told you that traditional “cable” providers should probably get started on supporting mobility within the network, would you agree? We’re guessing yes. This session will detail the state-of-the-art in current 5G wireless technologies and how they could be applied to last mile access. Also: What services wireless access will be able to support, evolving use cases for 5G, and the evolution and architecture of the HFC plant — with wireless spigots.
Wireless: Going Beyond Wi-Fi
Just as cable service providers expand their Wi-Fi footprints, mobile operators are evolving towards LTE Advanced. It’s a move that initiates another connectivity gray zone, not just between the two technologies, but in terms of how the two will interact as well. This session will examine evolving wireless technologies, with a particular focus on small cells and on the “densification” process they bring. Also: The plausible evolution of Wi-Fi strategies, from here on out — including concerns like the peaceful coexistence of licensed and unlicensed technologies (and yes, we’re looking at you, LTE and LTE-LAA) in the 3.5GHz and 5GHz spectral zones.
Early DOCSIS 3.1 Deployments
DOCSIS 3.1 deployments are ON. Early, but on. Hear from the D3.1 pioneers about their nascent deployments of this next chapter in the DOCSIS story. What can you expect from this new bandwidth fulcrum? How can you best prepare? What are the spectrum and capacity needs, and how (on earth!) are the D3.1 pioneers making it available? In this very timely session, you’ll get all of that, plus hands-on observations — clinical and anecdotal — about life on the front lines. Bonus: This session will also investigate how the results are standing up to the initial design theories so far (meaning 50% more throughput, upstream and downstream, for starters.)
Network Readiness for DOCSIS 3.1
DOCSIS 3.1 brings with it new operational challenges for field and maintenance technicians. This session shines a light on those challenges, isolating which are most important for the workforce. These include: How to tweak the HFC network, so as to maximize the multiple benefits of DOCSIS 3.1; and the gamut of plant activities (ranging from simple to extensive) that cable service providers can perform to get the best return from D3.1. We’ll also cover configuration options that can optimize performance, and troubleshooting techniques — for the lab and the field.
Home Wi-Fi Optimization
This session is all about how transition Wi-Fi reliability in the home from Impossible to “I’m Possible.” Discussions will review the impact of choices in Wi-Fi antennas, channel bands, spatial streams and frequencies — and how display devices are impacted. Included: A detailed look at methods for characterizing Wi-Fi performance using remote monitoring tools, like SNMP and TR-181.
Proactive Network Maintenance Technology Advances
Proactively and automatically detecting nonlinear distortion in the HFC network has long been a laborious process — up until now. Likewise for configuring DOCSIS modulation profiles for optimum spectral efficiency and robustness. This session is for you if you’re hungry for new and proactive network maintenance (PNM) technologies within cable modems and set-top boxes that can be used to detect, evaluate and locate nonlinear distortion in the network — auto-magically! — so that fixes can be applied much more quickly. Also: Learn how accurate measurements of the downstream receive MER-per-OFDM subcarrier in DOCSIS 3.1 can be used to create predictive performance models, so as to develop dynamic modulation profile configurations for DOCSIS 3.1 signaling.
Curious about the business implications of new fiber-deeper approaches, but not in having to detangle the tech-talk of lightwave technologies (among the densest of the land!)? This session is for you. Custom-built to address the cost effectiveness of alternative, fiber-related approaches to capacity enhancement. Join in to learn what you need to know about Gigabit fiber deployments — without the side of acronym soup.
Remote Architectures and Performance
Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) work by moving some of the CCAP (Cable Converged Access Platform) functionalities to the node. This approach will undoubtedly become a mainstream technology in the capacity toolkit in the near future. The next step in the evolution of these architectures is to determine how to put the constituent components into use, while optimizing the performance of the associated system-level architectures. This session will cover the many (many!) flavors of functionality that will likely be found in future DAA nodes. It will also explore the features and costs associated with the required connectivity between the head-end CCAP core and the DAA-based nodes. Bonus: Implementation and deployment details uncovered so far.
Fiber Access Architecture Strategies
Network capacity being the critical priority that it is, there’s correspondingly never a shortage of innovation around the architectures/technologies that can optimize optical fiber resources in the access network. Heard about shortening fiber lengths, lowering optical power budgets and fiber re-use? Wondering about the most efficacious way to extend fiber in the HFC networks? And how about this one: Is there an optimal middle ground — or should operators overbuild themselves with fiber all the way to the home? This session will hit upon the hard questions while offering key decision criteria you can consider on whatever your fiber-deeper path.
Fiber Deployment Considerations
The economics of current HFC infrastructure will undoubtedly impact network evolution– that much is clear. This session will explore lessons learned from early deployments of fiber-deeper techniques, while mapping out the next steps in the network’s evolution. It will include both the architectures and the practical implications of self-installation, in the march toward fiber to the edge. If you’re coming to Cable-Tec Expo to figure out how to add capacity by bringing fiber closer to homes, this one’s for you.
Hybrid Home Networks for Gigabit
Here’s a question: Is the in-home network ready to deliver Gigabit services to client devices? By now, we’re very aware (sometimes painfully so) of the consumption growth pattern for faster data, and how the sources of that demand will escalate (hello, 4K, IoT and virtual reality!) This session will address the advances in access network technologies that are enabling 1+ Gbps services, using standards such as DOCSIS 3.1, 10G EPON and GPON. Included: The efficacy of technologies like Wi-Fi, MoCA, and Ethernet in the home environment, and the always critical operational challenges requiring resolution, not the least of which is a peaceful coexistence between DOCSIS and MoCA in the home.
Proactive Network Maintenance Case Studies
The “Proactive” in “Proactive Network Maintenance” (PNM) is about finding and fixing problems before they affect customers and services — long a challenging and elusive goal, for both technical and non-technical reasons. The DOCSIS platform provides monitoring capabilities that enable a constant and increasingly “full-band” diagnosis of the network; PNM is the critical enabler for delivering reliable DOCSIS 3.1 services. This workshop will reveal how PNM deployments within Comcast and Cox have identified and resolved network problems — before they caused any real problems.
Advanced Encoding Meets IP Video Delivery
As if multiple formats and device types didn’t make IP video delivery hard enough, 4K/UHD/HDR video is about to pile on to the problem — and distributing it isn’t as simple as specifying and buying new encoders. Considerations include formatting (especially HDR), maximizing playback quality, end-to-end quality assurance, shared cloud services, and distribution flexibility. This session features a case study involving a U.S. operator and its 4K experiences. Plus: An overview of how “big data” can inform video consumption patterns, and how predictive analytics and ABR can combine to optimize network bandwidth usage.
Delivering Video Services to Customer-owned Devices
In the melee of consumer-owned, video-capable screens, must service providers continue to own and manage customer premises equipment? This session explores the feasibility of a customer owned and managed (“COAM”) device as the primary screen for video consumption: How open are the various application development ecosystems? What business/technical constraints do retail arrangements introduce? Also: What happens when ceding control of parts of the stack? This session will drill down to reveal the threats and the opportunities of delivering IP video to customer-owned devices. Also: What’s the best data to mine to improve both customer experience and network performance?
Immersive Video Experiences
Whether or not you think Virtual Reality (VR) will take off, you’d best learn what it might do your bandwidth. Consider: Even current 720P and 1080P versions of VR content aren’t capable of being delivered over cloud-sourced access speeds, and instead need to be served locally, from a server in the home. Plus, standards are needed in several areas — like rules of content writing, content acquisition and “stitching,” as well as encoding for video and binaural audio. Not to mention a unified mechanism to address multiple VR gear ecosystems (including mobile devices), so as to avoid the fragmentation issues so common in tangential industry sectors (OTT, IoT.) In this session, learn the impacts of 360-degree video on bandwidth, infrastructure and more.
The Internet of Things (IoTs) Impact and Opportunity for MSOs
According to industry prognosticators, there will be over 50 billion “things” added to the Internet by 2020. The Internet of Things is on the way, and they’re poised to continuously perch themselves on the network, taking tiny nips of bandwidth, all day and all night, chattering ceaselessly amongst themselves. This session will evaluate the possible impact of IoT on the MSO’s network, as well as examine a framework for analyzing IoT service opportunities.
Optimize This: IP Video
Large operators have been delivering video over IP for nearly a decade. But if you’re on the front end of that quest, it’s a pretty fast-moving informational slipstream to join. For operators who have yet to dabble in the IP video domain, this session will cover the basics of IP video, including adaptive bit rate, DOCSIS QoS, IP Multicast, and service flow and classifier definitions. Also: Variables key to network capacity planning for IPTV services, such as bandwidth usage, average kbps/subscriber, and type of service. And: Results from years of traffic metrics, collected from a population of 2 million+ users in different locations in Latin America. This huge volume of information reveals a lot — not only about user behavior in different periods of time, but also about new application trends and traffic evolution. Plus: A forecast model for critical variables used in analyzing the tradeoffs in network dimensioning and other decision making areas.
To Multicast or Not to Multicast: It’s No Longer the Question! (Or Is It?)
IP multicast is a bandwidth-conserving technology that reduces IP traffic by sending a single stream to many subscribers, instead of replicating that data stream as requested by multiple subscribers. A few years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find an engineer who wouldn’t put his or her bets on multicast as a way to deliver IP video — without buckling the network. This session will deliver the latest thinking about how to deploy multicast techniques — with a contrarian view of why you may not need to.
The Power of Color
It’s a great time to be a video storyteller — yet as the bulk of color essence continues to increase, color transformations will become more costly. Color processing, such as blending, fading, chroma-subsampling and resizing will need to be processed quickly, with minimal error. Which raises the question: What does HDR and wide color gamut mean to MSO infrastructure and distribution? If nothing else, we’re at a moment in time where long-standing color uniformity issues can be corrected. Plus: A quantitative method to provide MSOs with video quality data that can be used to make operational, technological and product decisions. With it, MSOs can report overall video quality and provide data on specific distortions that can be introduced during video compression, as well as in format conversion (HDR-to-SDR, for example.) A key aspect of this approach is that it can be used to enhance PSNR and SSIM methods by leveraging principles of the human visual system — with minimal computational complexity. The objective is to show data and analysis that quantifies how HDR/WCG video quality can be made accurate, actionable and practical, particularly when content owners consider the various trade-offs between bandwidth, technology options and the viewer’s experience.
Video delivery is on a direct and unstoppable path to the cloud. Consider: In a typical week, Comcast’s linear IP video offering serves 80 million streams, with daily peaks of 13 million. Meanwhile, Charter’s “Open Encoder” project is defining ”containerization,” standard APIs for vendors to follow, and operational support for continuous development. What’s the optimal architectural environment to get to the cloud? This session features both MSOs, who will cover the latest in scalable architectures and open source components that are defining the video cloud. Included: The case for multi-tier infrastructure as a service.
As a Service with SDN/NFV
Applying SDN and NFV for automation has made its mark in web-scale data centers. Can cable operators now apply these emerging technologies to their networks, and enter the “IT as a Service” fray? What about automating how MSO lab environments work, in terms of standardization and framework? This session highlights the value of automation and orchestration in legacy services. Case studies and data taken from over 350 service providers will be used to predict the ROI service providers can expect to see. It also details what lessons Cox has learned so far in transforming its lab environments.
Virtualizing Content Delivery and CPE
The cable industry has a rich history of deploying new content and features in the home. Now with broadband and more robust cloud capacity, deploying new features via the cloud is increasingly a viable alternative. Two unique use cases for virtualizing content and CPE operations will be presented. What will it take to get to a zero-touch deployment environment for devices? What’s the latest with the IETF’s “Autonomic Networking?” How is Cox partnering with vendors and open source projects to intelligently automate new service activation? This session aims to answer those questions and more.
Of the palette of SDN and NFV capabilities, which ones are best suited for MSO networks? How will the new platforms work with existing equipment? At this session, models for simplifying the migration to SDN and NFV will be presented. Also: How abstraction, automation and application awareness can combine for successful SDN implementations.
Maintenance and Testing in an SDN World
In this session, Cox Communications will share its experiences in leveraging SDN capabilities, from concept to service. Included: Uses cases on their experiences, and the benefits and challenges of using SDN to improve maintenance and accelerate testing. Also: Proactive Network Maintenance is already generating huge amounts of actionable data, but it can go much wider. An open source framework that links PNM to other big data elements, called Platform for Network Data Analytics (PanDA), is one example.
Service Activation and Management with SDN/NFV
This session will show how automation, orchestration and NFV can work together to provide new capabilities to operators (think of it is a sort of “Software-Defined DOCSIS”). It begins with an assessment of the pros and cons of traditional Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) equipped for DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) — arguably an early implementation of NFV — vs. SDN or NFV systems for Passive Optical Networks (PONs.) Included will be an extensive and side-by-side comparison of different system architectures. Also: A discussion of how a Tier 1 MSO applied a service provisioning solution from DOCSIS CPE and CMTS, across multiple network elements and terminating on fiber.
SDN Fundamentals for Cable
What’s the difference between SDN and NFV? Where did it all come from in the first place? What are the most plausible use cases — and what if somebody else gets there first? This session imparts an understanding of SDN fundamentals, and how they can apply to DOCSIS-controlled elements. Also: Learn about a new, modular and agile approach to immediately leverage existing SDN platforms — without the limitations associated with a purely monolithic approach. A demonstration will be provided to illustrate the concept.
SDN/NFV in the Access Network
The emerging technologies of SDN and NFV are often thought to be specific to data centers and WANs. But hey! Why not some SDN/NFV love in the access network — both residential and commercial? Here’s a chance to hear from a leading operator and vendor partner about how software is the ultimate differentiator between service providers. Also: Can AT&T’s “CORD” (Central Office Re-Architected as a Datacenter) be applied to the headend, as a “HERD” (Headend Re-Architected as a Datacenter)?
Access Technology Energy: Changing the Equation
The SCTE’s Energy2020 mission is now in its “sophomore year,” focused on dramatically increasing the industry’s energy efficiency — and everything that come along with that, including cost savings, a proactive stance on alternative techniques that save the planet’s natural resources and the resultant industrial/consumer goodwill. With global broadband operators spending billions annually on energy, the time is now to focus on the energy consumption and Energy2020’s approach to the challenge. This track will address energy consumption in headends, hubs and access networks.
Increasing the Impact of the Workforce
One of the most valuable things service providers have are “feet on the street” — a workforce with ample opportunities to improve customer satisfaction. This session examines the application of analytics to customer care functions. Also: How to empower the field to apply existing tools and processes to the emerging networks of the future. And: How Augmented Reality (AR) can increase the effectiveness, skill level and productivity of technical staff.
Energy Saving Strategies
Energy remains a major expenditure for most cable companies (understatement!) This session will lay out the energy blueprint for a typical cable system, from the side of the house all the way to the headend. In addition, we will expose the tools, emerging standards and leading measurement methodologies to enable an MSO to benchmark and optimize its infrastructure.
Lightening the Energy Load
This operator-heavy session will look at practical methods to reduce energy usage, from the headend to the edges of the network. First, learn about Liberty Global’s “OREO” program (where OREO isn’t a sugar bomb, but rather an acronym that stands for “Overall Room Energy Optimization.”) Next, learn about Charter’s partnership with the National Renewable Energy Lab to assess the potential for renewable energy at 600 of its locations. Then: Learn how Comcast is implementing an integrative, cross-departmental, energy efficiency program involving both software and hardware engineering. Its intent is to leverage the SCTE’s Adaptive Power System Interface Specification (APSIS) to further reduce network operating costs and reduce electricity usage by applying a (previously non-existent) measurement and control methodology powered by statistical monitoring and online learning.
Addressing Wireless Cybersecurity
Wi-Fi is a significant and growing asset for cable operators. As more and more wireless devices connect to the network, it is imperative that MSOs understand the vast tapestry of cyber security considerations — from vulnerabilities to known methods of remediation.