ServAssure™ Wi-Fi: Now Available for Prime Time

Service providers, rejoice. Customer service just got a lot easier…

Starting today, ServeAssure™ Wi-Fi Solutions is available to ARRIS customers around the world. The browser-based application provides automated and assisted home network monitoring, diagnosis, and troubleshooting—allowing technicians to resolve Wi-Fi issues in the complex connected home environment, quickly and efficiently.

That’s good news for providers, who are navigating an ecosystem of more than 500M connected devices in just the US alone. That’s nearly 6 devices per household, according to last year’s report from NPD. And the number continues to grow…

Our suite of integrated Assurance solutions provide a unified view into the end user’s network—combining visibility from the tech, CSR, and subscriber perspectives—to guide service installment and provide ongoing network management across this growing network of devices.  

ServAssure WiFi Solutions addresses the underlying issues behind providers’ most common customer complaints, including decreased download/upload speeds, channel interference, security settings, and more. By providing proactive support for these issues, the application lowers demand on call center and field service resources and keeps subscribers happy.  

ARRIS ServAssure Wi-Fi Solutions complement the ARRIS ServAssure Edge Visibility and ARRIS ServAssure Performance Management solutions. Each is available as a separate application in the ARRIS Assurance portfolio, but can be integrated for a full-service approach to field service management.

Check us out the Cable Show’s Imagine Park (Booth #1837), Wednesday @ 4:10 pm PT.

Answers to Key DOCSIS 3.1 Migration Questions

Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker-Sr. Director, CMTS Product Marketing, ARRIS

With more headlines and data pointing to consumers’ increasing desire for TV Anywhere, multiscreen services, OTT and IP video, we know it’s crucial for service providers to look for ways to further optimize their network.

More providers than ever are transitioning to higher-speed, wideband DOCSIS 3.0 technology. In fact, DOCSIS 3.0 device shipments are expected to comprise nearly 90 percent of worldwide cable CPE shipments in 2014. And the good news is that by taking full advantage of DOCSIS 3.0, service providers not only optimize the performance of their networks, but also prepare those networks for a smooth migration to DOCSIS 3.1.

So where exactly are we in regards to the DOCSIS 3.1 migration? How do cable providers get there? And perhaps the question on most everyone’s mind…is it possible to ensure a smooth migration path? Thankfully, the short answer to the last question is “yes.”  But let’s address these questions in greater detail – as well as some additional key points related to DOCSIS 3.1.

First, what exactly will DOCSIS 3.1 do for cable providers? Under appropriate conditions, DOCSIS 3.1 will enable providers to achieve up to a 50 percent increase in data throughput in the same spectrum supporting speeds up to 10 Gbps in the downstream and 1+ Gbps in the upstream.

DOCSIS 3.1 enables expanded speeds through the use of OFDM, which uses multiple sub-carriers in channels up to 192 MHz in width, and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) forward error correction, which is more efficient than the Reed-Solomon FEC codes used in early DOCSIS versions. The combination of OFDM and LDPC allows providers to use higher modulation orders – 1024, 2048 and 4096 QAM – and enable maximum throughput across various HFC plant conditions.

So where do we stand in the DOCSIS 3.1 migration timeline? DOCSIS 3.1 specifications were released in October 2013, and many vendors are currently developing compatible products. DOCSIS 3.1 enables providers to provide compelling service offerings in a dynamic, competitive marketplace. They can meet the growing demand for managed and OTT IP video services as well as data and traditional video services, such as VOD and nDVR.

The expectation is DOCSIS 3.1 testing will begin later this year and into 2015. Deployments will more than likely begin in late 2015 and early 2016. But it’s crucial for providers making significant investments in their deployed DOCSIS 3.0 CCAP technology to offer software upgrades to key aspects of DOCSIS 3.1. This will enable them to offer enhanced downstream speeds beyond what is possible with the bonding of multiple 6 or 8 MHz channels.

Maybe by now you’re wondering how one might approach this migration path? Thankfully, the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 can be a multi-phased approach making it easier to adapt to the change.

It’s good to know from the start that the migration can be done separately on the downstream and upstream channels. This allows for quicker expansion on the congested downstream channels using some of the DOCSIS 3.1 features. From there, upstream support can be implemented later when additional upstream bandwidth is necessary.

Additionally, providers can start using DOCSIS 3.1 on their existing spectrum in 96MHz or 192MHz blocks and then later adapt their plant and expand to use the higher downstream frequencies up to 1.2 GHz or 1.7 GHz defined in the standards. This approach can make use of “holes” in existing spectrum, and support the gradual insertion of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems into their systems.

One of the operating modes that can aid in the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 is enabled by turning off a block of OFDM sub-carriers in the OFDM channel and operating a single-carrier QAM channel within that spectrum.  DOCSIS 3.1 modems and DOCSIS 3.0 modems will be able to operate in the same serving group with the DOCSIS 3.1 modems using both the OFDM and SC-QAM channels and DOCSIS 3.0 modems operating in single-carrier QAM channels.

Finally, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration is made easier and more cost-effective if the same CCAP line cards being used for DOCSIS 3.0 services can be upgraded to support 3.1 via a software upgrade. This saves the provider from an expensive line card replacement. It is also important to have a CCAP with the necessary capacity in the switch fabric, mid-plane, power and cooling. Ultimately, the overall system should scale to beyond 1 Terabit/s of throughput with the appropriate QoS control, traffic managers and network-side interfaces.

In summary, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration aims to be fairly straightforward because of both backward compatibility with DOCSIS 3.0 modems and gateways AND the ability to preserve today’s CCAP investments. Testing of compatible cable modems and gateways will commence later this year followed by upgrades to deployed CCAP systems. All of these initiatives strengthen the cable providers’ position to optimize the performance of their systems to support the growing demand for IP video, data and traditional video services.

We’re not too far away, and I’m looking forward to sharing more updates as we continue down the path to DOCSIS 3.1.

A New Solution for the Timing and Scaling of DOCSIS IP Multicast Services

hanks

Bill Hanks, Director of Systems Engineering

Attendees of this week’s The Cable Show are hoping to catch an early glimpse of tomorrow’s evolution in TV and cable. Next Wednesday morning, ARRIS’s own Tom Cloonan, CTO Networks, will be moderating a session entitled “From CDNs to Streaming Clouds: Advanced Approaches for Video Delivery”. On this panel, Amit Eshet, ARRIS Fellow, will be presenting a paper entitled “Multicast as a Mandatory Stepping Stone for an IP Video Service to the Big Screen” and I will be presenting a paper on entitled “An Improvement Proposal for the Timing and Scaling of DOCSIS IP Multicast Services”.

In my talk, I will address an issue related to a key component of the IPTV evolution: efficient DOCSIS IP multicast delivery.

Consumers’ increasing multiscreen habits coupled with the growing adoption of the DOCSIS 3.0 protocol pose an imminent timing and scalability challenge to many DOCSIS-based IPTV systems—ranging from multicast processing power, membership messaging latency, and unicast bandwidth needs for fast-channel-change techniques.

My co-authors and I believe that the industry can mitigate this challenge by employing a DOCSIS® Multicast Carousel to enable the cable modem to make its own tuning and multicast forwarding decisions.

Our panel takes place Wednesday, April 30 at 8:00 am in Room 403B. We hope to see you there!

The 364 Days Behind Earth Day

On April 22nd, we take the opportunity to reflect on what we do for the Earth the other 364 days of the year.

We call our approach to energy efficiency “conservation through innovation.” It represents our constant pursuit of better consumer entertainment experiences with a minimal impact on our natural resources. In the past year, we’ve taken major strides to improve energy efficiency in our own organization and with our partners throughout the world.

In December, we announced that we joined the U.S. Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and multiple industry associations and energy advocates to reduce set-top energy consumption up to 45 percent by 2017, to the tune of $1 billion in annual energy savings for U.S. consumers.

Earlier this month, we collaborated with Verizon to launch its new FiOS Quantum TV experience, based on the ARRIS VMS1100 media server and IPC1100 video client. The combo achieves a 20% reduction in energy consumption compared with other configurations.

Today, ARRIS is a leader in ENERGY STAR 3.0 qualified set-tops, with 19 in our current lineup. And, we’re working to ensure that our new devices meet the EPA’s latest guidelines for the ENERGY STAR Version 4.1 specification.

These are just a few of the ways that we’re improving energy efficiency throughout the year as we collaborate with world’s leading service providers to bring the next stage of innovation and conservation to their millions of subscribers.

Getting the Most out of Your DOCSIS 3.0 Network: Dynamic Load Balancing of Bonded Modems

Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker-Sr. Director, CMTS Product Marketing, ARRIS

We’re using more bandwidth than ever. And that amount is growing by nearly 50 percent per year.

The reason is that we’re streaming more content, on more devices, from more sources than ever – whether it’s movies on our tablets, TV on our smartphones, or files from the cloud.

With no slowdown in sight and new services coming onboard every year, cable providers face a unique challenge to meet tomorrow’s demands on today’s networks.

One answer is wideband DOCSIS 3.0 technology, using dynamic load balancing across available wideband channels.

This can be a nearly universal solution, because most cable providers in North America and many around the world have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 capable CMTS/CCAP networks, and because DOCSIS 3.0 devices – like cable modems and video gateways – are on track to constitute 90 percent of all worldwide cable CPE shipments in 2014.

DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Bonding

This widespread adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 network and CPE components enable significant bandwidth increases from technology called “channel bonding,” which combines multiple channels (downstream, upstream, or both) into one, providing multiplicative bandwidth gains resulting in speeds beyond 1 Gbps downstream and 300 Mbps upstream.

DOCSIS 3.0 Dynamic Loading

Optimizing bandwidth from DOCSIS 3.0 networks requires dynamically load balancing channel-bonded modems. These modems have a particular set of channels in which they can transmit and receive upstream and downstream data – Transmit Channel Set (TCS) and Receive Channel Set (RCS) respectively. Users’ bonded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems often are spread across these channel sets.

Dynamic loading involves periodically checking and comparing the utilization of available channel sets and moving modems to alternative upstream or downstream channel sets with lighter loads.

Moving modems from one channel set to another falls under a function known as Dynamic Bonding Change (DBC), which performs the move in hitless (no loss of registration) operation to eliminate network interruption.

DOCSIS 3.0 Static Load Balancing

Static load balancing is an alternative to dynamic load balancing, but inferior for network optimization, as it involves the CMTS/CCAP assigning a bonded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem to a TCS and RCS at the time of registration based on modem count vs. channel utilization.

The Path to DOCSIS 3.1

Dynamic load balancing of bonded cable modems allows a provider to stay ahead of exploding demand for both managed and OTT video over IP services.  And, the expansion and efficient use of the DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding will also enable a smooth path to DOCSIS 3.1 and the ability to compete against fiber-deep initiatives by bonding together DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 channels.

Stay tuned for more on the migration path to DOCSIS 3.1…

ARRIS Technology Experts Take The Cable Show Stage

In a few days, ARRIS technology experts will take the stage to discuss content and consumption, cableshowstreaming clouds, CDNs, and the latest and greatest in industry trends. If you’re attending The Cable Show make sure to schedule in some of the below sessions and stop by for a visit at our booth #1537.

But before you go, connect with us on Twitter to whiz up on a few topics and follow our whereabouts. We’ll be tweeting throughout the show using #Cable2014, giving you a behind-the-scenes look of our booth, panels and the best of what’s to come.

Check back soon as we dive deeper into a couple of the sessions below. We look forward to seeing you in the City of Angels!

Tuesday, April 29

●    Session:  Scale Tale: A Forward View of Cable’s Data Network Architecture

Title:  A Model for Balancing HSD and Video during the DOCSIS3.1 Transition

Speakers:  Jeff Howe, John Ulm

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Doing Just PHYne: Bandwidth Increases for Cable Networks

Title:  A Side-by-Side Comparison of Centralized vs. Distributed Access Architectures

Speaker:  Michael Emmendorfer

Time:  2:00 – 3:15 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

Wednesday, April 30

●    Session:  From CDNs to Streaming Clouds: Advanced Approaches for Video Delivery

Title:  PANEL Moderator: “CDN/Efficient Transport”

Speakers:  Tom Cloonan, Amit Eshet, William Hanks

Time:  8:00 – 9:30 a.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Elevating The Experience: New Ideas for Delivering Best-in-Class Service

Title:  CIO Competition: Finalist: “A Structured Approach to the Discovery and Creation of Multiscreen TV Viewing Experiences”

Speaker:  Andrew Aftelak

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Location: 403A

●    Session:  My How You’ve Grown: Emerging Data Demand…And How To Satisfy It

Title:  Predictions on the Evolution of Access Networks to the Year 2030 & Beyond

Speakers: Ayham Al-Banna, Tom Cloonan, Michael Emmendorfer, Venk Mutalik

Time:  2:30 – 3:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  To The Hotspot & Beyond: Advanced Ideas for Cable Wireless Networks

Title:  The Importance of Air Time Allocation in Delivering Wi-Fi Quality of Service

Speaker:  Eli Baruch

Time:  4:00 – 5:00 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Anticipating Generation Next

Titles:  Global Broadband Trends: Survey Says… & Home W-Fi Optimization

Speakers:  Jeff Brooks, Sandy Howe, Jeanne Russo

Time:  4:00 – 4:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Imagine Park, Booth 1837

●    Session:  Thinking Big: Data Extraction & Analysis For Improved Performance

Title:  Big Data – Web Originated Technology Meets Television

Speaker:  Bhavan Gandhi

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

Thursday, May 1

●    Session:  When TV Speaks IP: The Transition to a New Video Environment

Title:  QoE Monitoring of IP Video Service

Speakers:  Amit Eshet, Ludovic Milin

Time:  8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

●    Session:  Elevating The Experience: Techniques & Technologies for Operational Excellence

Title:  Taking the Customer’s View of Trouble Resolution (or Peering over the Walls)

Speaker:  Jeff Brooks

Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PT

Location:  Room 403B

 

Spring Clean Your Network with ARRIS

Spring has sprung. It’s time to clean house, and ARRIS can help.

All your family’s gadgets fight for bandwidth – making things messy… and slow. But ARRIS has two products that will put you on the fast track to a clean home network.

Our SURFboard® SB6141 Cable Modem ($99.99), with DOCSIS® 3.0 & IPv6 support, and SBG6782U_RIGHT (revised2)our SURFboard SBG6782-AC Gateway ($219.99), an all-in-one device with 802.11AC WiFi®, give you new levels of connectivity matched with the fastest available wired and wireless Internet speeds. They’ll also save you more than $200 over five years vs. renting equipment from your service provider.

That’s like 60 cups of coffee… Which you’ll need, when our SURFboards put you hours ahead of your spring cleaning schedule, and make it easier than ever to stream your way through a marathon of last season’s House of Cards.

So, as you begin to organize your closet, make sure to give your home network some attention as well. A slow connection is so last season.

Happy cleaning!

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of April 14, 2014

This week, industry coverage looked to the future of television, including 4K, 8K and HEVC. While many in the industry are anxiously awaiting the arrival of 4K, TechHive reported that 8K broadcasts could reach homes in 2020. Such high-resolution video will require efficient encoding and transmitting, and Broadband TV News wrote that HEVC Version 1 has achieved more than 50% bitrate savings compared to MPEG 4 AVC/H.264.

From an industry perspective, TechZone360 shared that the rapid growth in multiscreen video content and increasing options in video processing workflow are impacting the transition to the cloud. Additionally, Rapid TV News covered research from Strategy Analytics projecting pay IPTV will continue to be a bright spot in the US pay-TV market with a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% through 2019.

Finally, MediaDailyNews shared that nearly 90% of worldwide adult TV viewing continues to be live, although new TV-video platforms are gaining steam.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. I’m OK, you’re… 8K? 8K broadcasts coming in 2020 (April 14) By Susie Ochs, TechHive: “I dunno, that 4K TV just doesn’t have enough pixels,” said no one ever. But that isn’t stopping the march of progress—8K resolution is coming. Just not for a little while, and with plenty of technical hurdles to clear along the way.
  2. HEVC demonstrates its high efficiency (April 16) By Donald Koeleman, Broadband TV News: HEVC Version 1 demonstrates it has achieved more than 50% bitrate savings compared to MPEG 4 AVC/H.264, the MPEG standards group announced following its 108th meeting held at the beginning of April in Valencia, Spain.
  3. In a Multiscreen World, Cloud-Based Video Processes Come to the Fore (April 17) By Tara Seals, TechZone360: The business of broadcast is like any other enterprise vertical, in that the rise of mobility, social enablement and all-digital, all-IP transactions are creating a level of complexity hitherto unknown.
  4. Pay-TV to return to growth in 2014 (April 16) By Michelle Clancy, Rapid TV News: The US pay-TV market looks set to turn around a loss in total subscribers in 2013 to growth by the end of 2014, research from Strategy Analytics suggests.
  5. Most TV Viewing Still Live, But Streaming, Video Gains Popularity (April 16) By Wayne Friedman, MediaDailyNews: From a new poll of 15,551 adults in 20 countries, Ipsos OTX says 86% of respondents watch traditional live TV, with 27% streaming/downloading TV/video via computer; 16% are streaming Internet video to TV; 16% are using DVR/recording devices to view; and 11% watching on mobile.
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