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The father of the cable modem preaches the age of caches and the flat, digital network
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The End of Docsis

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lightreader100
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lightreader100,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:31 PM
re: The End of Docsis


very insightful point of view.  this approach could take us to the next level

techgeneral
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techgeneral,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:30 PM
re: The End of Docsis


Excellent interview.  What he's proposing is a fundamental shift in how services are delivered...a very radical & expensive notion.  It's fun to use GOOG as the example of your world view, but it's a bit of revisionist history; they were trying to find quality research papers...world domination came later.  Also, there's a little problem called content.  Ad-supported search results (you know urls that contain the keywords you're searching), is a fundamentally different experience than the QoS of full motion video.  Seems wasteful to advocate storing (caching) large amounts of copyrighted content through the network, so users can access it with a couple of mouse clicks.  I like the idea of brokering access, but can't seem to get my head around how it all works; I'm imagining giant data centers everywhere.  Maybe I'm missing something?

Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:06:30 PM
re: The End of Docsis


He clearly has a grand vision, but seems to conflate a lot of issues that I think of as disjoint.  


The 6MHz channel plan, and the 50 MHz split has clearly become a handicap.    I can think of several possible approaches to better utilize the usable bandwidth of fiber-fed coax.   The big question is how to transition to any such scheme without massive breakage.


The need for caching is apparent, not just for the reasons he's given, but also because we have reached a tipping point in TCP performance gains.  TCP goodput in congestion avoidance is roughly proportional to sqrt(RTT)/packet loss rate.  As bit rates increase on the access and in the backbone, the RTT term ceases to be dominated by serialization/deserialization delays and instead becomes dominated by prop delay.  As a result, investment in moving content closer to the user starts to yield better performance gains than comparable investment in higher speeds.   What is not clear to me is whether this caching needs to be an integral part of the MSO's network, or layered over and collocated (as done now with Akamai and Limelight). 


Finally, I'm wondering when we're going to reach the tipping point with ad-supported models.  It seems to me that consumers are becoming saturated with too many messages, frustrated by the insatiable demands on their attention and concerned about invasions of privacy.   The news business' move toward pay walls may be the canary in the coal mine.  If that is the case, I'd suggest that the providing the dumb pipe, plus usage based charging plus access control plus billing and customer care form a stronger long-term business model.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:29 PM
re: The End of Docsis


 


Then the other issue with TCP is assymmetry.  The upstream to downstream ratio of more than about 8:1 causes slowdowns in the downstream (there are lots of papers out there on this).


seven

Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:06:29 PM
re: The End of Docsis


Mr. Yassini covered the video/UDP case.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:29 PM
re: The End of Docsis


 


Duh,


I agree with the need for caching, but I think we need to be thinking about UDP not TCP for video.


seven


 

RBR
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RBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:28 PM
re: The End of Docsis

Excellent statement Rouzbeh and well articulated as always. 

We are migrating from an era where Internet Access was simply a product addition on an HFC network into one of all data; then make that the biggest and best it can be.  Services then become just an application on that network.  MetaSwitch said it best recently:  “We need to become the FedEx and UPS of data package delivery, who cares about the bits inside.”

We were reaching for that end in 802.14 but were not able to meet the timely demands of the Cable Industry and ceded our efforts.  DOCSIS was an outstanding solution for the industry’s needs and Cable Labs was second to none in offering the industry revenue generating solutions.  Hat’s off to what DOCSIS created!  Underlying principles return though as we see in the advent of Carrier Ethernet and embedded CORE router controls such as Cisco’s.  The old battles of flow management, QoS, concatenation and fragmentation remain though our channel model performances are well settled.

Be data first and watch your revenue models transform your view of business. 


Thanks Rouzbeh, y’all were a great set of mentors.  It continues to be a fun ride!

Duh!
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Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:06:28 PM
re: The End of Docsis


Yup.  That comes in the category of the 50 MHz split being a handicap.  At least the TI Cable Modem ASICs (don't remember Broadcom having also picked this up) support ACK decimation, which significantly mitigates the problem. 

comtech3
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comtech3,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:24 PM
re: The End of Docsis


It is nice to have a vision about next generation cable architectural approach,but that's what it is, a vision.This gentle has never spent a day in the field is telling us this nonsense.The current HFC architecture utilizes a sub-split.This means using bands of frequencies from 8MHz to 862MHz.All prone to noise and interference,especially in the sub-band.Now is this gentleman proposing an all IP  data based transmission of services no matter what it is,be it voice,video, or plain internet traffic? I can see the cable systems going down with all those retransmissions when the data is corrupted in transit to their destination.To have this kind of service, the cable companies would have to change their infrastructure to all fiber where there would be less chance of noise being generated not only from ingress,but from amplifier generated noise.Even with an all fiber infrastructure, there is a chance of retransmission caused by LASER misalignment and delays caused by light scattering.My Yassini's proposal may seem noble on the surface,but he needs to see what it is like in the field and not in a vacuum!

bahlmann
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bahlmann,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:06:24 PM
re: The End of Docsis


Like any other technology it has its uses, but its not the answer, and I'd agrue there are more problems with it operationally and legally.


Call it a conspiricy theory, is just the precursor to the operators wanting to store everying at the network's edge. However, what they call the network's edge is where its "gray" - is it atop the fiber node or near the Internet NAPs. If the latter, the size and extent of caching will begin to look more like archiving rather than caching.


I agree, that DOCSIS is at best an iterim step. But lets face it, DSL and any other fiber/copper, RF, etc. combination is too. Problem is, will the next migration end up costing cable operators more than this interim step - or has fiber now become so cheap that it is hyper competitive to quick and dirty coax.


While cable's headends look more like an IP network these days, migrating out of DOCSIS or the use of coax would be painful and very expensive. Particularly since the it would render a majority of their headend and plant technicians obsolete. Thus, I'm afraid cable is stuck with coax and some flavor of RF (not IP) for the unforesable future - it won't happen in my lifetime.

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