Here’s an HD/HSD metric, a top-12 DOCSIS 3.0 list from Comcast, and some numbers from ARRIS.

First, back to Toronto at last week’s SCTE Canada Summit. (For previous reports, click here.)

During the opening session, moderator Leslie Ellis asked the panelists about their heaviest high-speed data users. (Whether these were their best or worst subscribers depended upon one’s perspective, she gamely noted.)

"Two terabytes," said EastLink Director of Internet Engineering & Operations Steve Irvine. "Or 450 HD movies."

Shaw VP Engineering Dennis Steiger raised the ante: "Eight terabytes," with the panel quickly calculating that in HD currency at about 2,000 HD movies.

What’s going on here? "Building up libraries," said Irvine.

Granted, those populating home servers at such velocity are outliers on the data usage scatter plot. Rogers Cable SVP Dermot O’Carroll put it this way: The heaviest individual use on Rogers’ network equates to that of 320 customers.

In the ongoing debates over network management, these kinds of rough metrics may prove useful as concrete ways to describe the (arguably inequitable) consumption of bytes. But as for whether these heavy network hitters were friend or foe, Irvine was spreading the love.

"It’s all about getting the best Internet experience possible," he said. "We want to provide the best (peer-to-peer) BitTorrent experience possible, as well."

Irvine said that EastLink has received "no complaints" for its use of deep packet inspection (DPI) technology.

Comcast top 12 list

The Canadian Summit drew speakers from the Lower 48 as well, including Comcast Senior Director Network Architecture Chris Bastian, who updated attendees on Comcast’s deployment of DOCSIS 3.0 technology.

It’s no secret that the industry is in the midst of a hefty project. A year and a half ago, Bastian’s colleague Saifur Rahman, of Comcast National Engineering & Technical Operation, spelled out a generic five-year DOCSIS migration methodology. (Click here for more.)

Bastian confirmed the progression from beta code to production in a slide listing 14 items culled from a project plan that numbered 1,639 items in total. He also listed the following top 12 lessons-learned topics from Comcast’s massive project to date:

• CPE availability and firmware stability
• Test schedule confirmation
• Defining upgraded service areas
• Sharing data with divisions
• New NCPs/re-cabling
• Schedule balance
• Spares plan
• DOCSIS 3.0 MIBs/OSS test support
• Lock down product requirements
• Timeframe to train service and field personnel
• Updating end-of-life (CPE) list
• Distributing trial test results

Numbers from ARRIS

Not a lot to glean from the eight numbers that ARRIS sent over today (2/12), namely Q4 and FY 2008 shipments of CMTS upstreams and downstreams, EMTAs and cable modems.

Well, here are two points.

First, ARRIS did 42 percent of its CMTS downstream business in Q4, which roughly tracks with Bastian’s message that DOCSIS 3.0 deployments, at least for Comcast (which uses ARRIS and Cisco CMTSs), were accelerating in the second half of 2008.

Second, EMTAs were the dog that didn’t bark. Had Thomson not stumbled so badly with Comcast, giving ARRIS a chance to fill the gap, that normal-looking 24 percent in Q4 would probably have been considerably lower.

– Jonathan Tombes

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at

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