Here’s a wrap-up of the second half of the SCTE’s Commercial Services Symposium, held in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 12. See last week’s Pipeline for the first two morning sessions. (For a copy of the CD-ROM with all papers and presentations, contact the SCTE.) Talk of cable’s play into the commercial services market invariably raises the notion of an "untapped" market. Yet as Cox Business Services (CBS) VP of Product Development and Management Kristine Faulkner reminded symposium attendees, the industry has already begun drawing revenues that otherwise would be flowing into ILEC coffers. Over a five-year stretch, Cox has grown this business tenfold, from $50 million to $500 million, Faulkner said. The industry at large is trending upward, too, from $1.2 billion in 2004 to a projected $2 billion this year. And there is, indeed, more market to tap. Faulkner underscored the big goal that Cox execs have trumpeted this year: "$10 billion by 2010!" Reaching that five-fold growth target by the end of the decade could mean checking off some of these items contained within Faulkner’s keynote address: Going forward, the industry can monitor progress with reference to that $10 billion goal, but Faulkner said success could also be measured in terms of a mental shift, namely: "when employees think ‘commercial’ at the same moment they think ‘residential’ when someone says the word ‘customers.’" How to get QoS The symposium’s two afternoon sessions focused on the unique requirements of commercial customers and successes in the field. Kshitij Kumar, director of business development at C-COR, pointed to the role that PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) could play in satisfying the need to deliver per-customer QoS. In particular, his ‘recipe’ called for taking one platform-whether Ethernet, resilient packet ring (his preference), IP or multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)-and adding a carrier-grade system, bandwidth on-demand provisioning and a PCMM-based policy manager. Emphasizing the Layer 2 switching and Layer 3 routing characteristics of MPLS was Mike Cookish, director of product management at Motorola, who underscored the role of the CMTS in acting as a label edge router (LER) that could create label switched paths (LSPs) between VPNs. The opportunities to create both VPN and VLAN services over the existing DOCSIS infrastructure are "immediate and attractive," Cookish said. Resource reservation protocol (RSVP) is one way to bring PCMM-enabled QoS to life today, said Cisco Systems Cable Solution Engineer Stephen Kroll. In particular, RFC 2749- common open policy service (COPS) for RSVP-enables a QoS request to pass from a CMTS to the policy decision point (PDP), or PCMM application manager. The request then passes per usual to a PCMM policy server to activate VPN or other such services, thus enabling today what otherwise might need await an extension to PCMM. Speaking of specs in development, Charles Bergren, an engineer in CableLabs’ Broadband Access group, gave attendees a quick update on his team’s efforts to give cable modems T- 1-bearing capabilities. A prominent issue-as with the modular CMTS initiative-is clocking. One issue the group is not touching is signaling. Choosing their battles carefully, Bergren said his group should have the spec out sometime in November. Lessons Learned The symposium’s final "lessons learned" session followed several threads of discussion from earlier in the day. For instance, Cox Senior DOCSIS Engineer Ben Bekele said the lack of standards-based Layer 2 VPN services was hampering cable’s efforts. "It really is a pain when you have to provision multiple customers," Bekele said of the status quo implementation. "It’s not a viable solution, long term." By contrast, the emerging spec promises to handle multiple forwarding models, standardize configuration and security, and all in all create a "frame relay killer" service. The T-1 theme surfaced early in the talk by John Dickinson, senior director, network engineering, at Bright House Networks in Tampa Bay. While carrier-grade Ethernet services are growing fast, he said DS-1s still dominate by number of services and revenue, which supports his view that the HFC network should remain flexible. "It must be a multi-service network," he said. Speaking of data services only, Dickinson emphasized the need for flexible metro DWDM and ROADM technologies and said that either CWDM or PON access schemes can help MSOs further leverage their fiber assets. Echoing a wireless topic discussed in the morning and referred to by luncheon keynoter Faulkner, Charter Communications sales engineer Keith Grunberg walked through a wireless plant extension (WPE) case noteworthy for its speed. In the two weeks it takes a comparable fiber or coax project simply to order equipment (pole permits could take eight weeks to process) a WPE deployment could deliver a customer ready for billing. "And that is a worst-case scenario," Grunberg said. "Right now we’re down to a three-day turnaround." With standard GPS tools to nail down actual distances, enhanced signal amplification to clean up the return path, and improved GUIs to accelerate set-up times, operators can deploy such plant extensions with apparent speed and ease. In the case of all three of the final presenters, vendor partners coauthored the white papers that accompanied their PowerPoint slides: Cisco with Cox; Fujitsu with Bright House, and ArcWave (which also sponsored the luncheon address) with Charter. To obtain copies of these papers, please contact the SCTE. – Jonathan Tombes

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