Much of DOCSIS 3.0 and additional key elements of the PacketCable 2.0 specifications have been given “consent” status by a study group of the International Telecommunications Union placing the technologies on a pathway to become international standards. The meetings of Study Group 9 occurred in mid-June in Singapore and were chaired by CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard R. Green.
“The June meetings were very important. Once again the world has embraced innovative technologies that were originated by North America’s cable industry with strong support from other countries and made them standards for the world to implement,” Green said. The elements that were agreed upon by SG9 now will be forwarded to full ITU-T membership for acceptance as ITU Recommendations.
Data over Cable Service Interface Specifications is an extensive set of specifications developed by CableLabs, its cable operating company members and key suppliers in the broadband industry. The DOCSIS 3.0 specification establishes ways for cable companies to tie multiple 6 MHz transmission channels together to deliver data at speeds in excess of 160 Mbps to consumers and at 120 Mbps or more upstream from consumers.
DOCSIS 3.0 also incorporates support for the Internet Protocol version 6. IPv6 is the next generation of the Internet Protocol and greatly expands the number of Internet addresses that cable operators may use, allowing them to provide consumers with more IP-based services, such as IPTV and a variety of telephony capabilities. These new protocols will allow cable operators to expand their service offerings without bound.
SG 9 has in the recent past begun the process of producing the second generation of standards known as IPCablecom. These standards, identified as PacketCable 2.0 in the U.S., provide the specifications for delivering advanced, real-time multimedia services over cable operators’ networks. They utilize the DOCSIS platform and Internet Protocol technology to enable a wide range of multimedia services such as fixed-mobile convergence, business communications, video communications, and cross-platform features.
The initial set of IPCablecom2 Recommendations, covering the core elements of the PacketCable 2.0 architecture, was consented by the study group in 2006. The additional standards consented during the Singapore meeting add Home Subscriber Server functionality to the architecture. The HSS provides key mechanisms needed to support subscriber mobility and roaming.
A new draft standard has been produced that defines service level requirements and an architectural framework for cable networks to provide new services based on technology generally known as Internet Protocol Television. IPTV utilizes the Internet protocol in providing video/audio/text/graphics/data at required levels of quality, security, interactivity and reliability. The new draft standard is extensive and includes requirements for network elements as well as CPE, including middleware application interfaces which consist of software libraries that provide uniform access to system services. It leverages existing deployed cable technologies, such as MPEG, DOCSIS, GEM, and IPCablecom to provide a smooth path for cable operators to integrate IPTV technology into their networks.