Light Reading
Cable companies can make their all-IP networks more distributed, simpler, and better able to scale in support of apps.

Comcast Exec: Cable Industry on Track for Simplified, Distributed Networks

Carol Wilson
3/27/2014
50%
50%

DENVER -- Cable Next-Gen Strategies & Technologies -- The cable industry is well positioned to move to more simplified, distributed networks that may well break with the tradition of following telecom standards for packet-optical networks, Shamim Akhtar, architect and senior director of network strategy for Comcast, told a crowd of mostly cable operators here today.

Because its traditional video networks were already largely distributed, using local head ends to aggregate content, cable can push content to the edge of its network and move beyond an era when it was cheaper to transport content than to produce it, Akhtar said. The Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) exec cited newer compute and storage technologies that make it cheaper to push content and applications closer to the consumer, delivering a better customer experience in the process.

Though it will be challenging to converge all services on to an IP backbone, including high-speed data, video, voice, wireless, and backhaul, cable has less legacy gear to replace than incumbent telecom operators do, Akhtar said. Instead of bulking up the core networks in the traditional faction, it will be important to add network capacity at the edge, where it will be consumed in higher quantities than in the core in a distributed network approach.

Another area of departure from the traditional telecom approach is a move away from focusing on making the network run at the traditional 99.999% reliability, also known as five-nines, to making sure the application has that level of reliability, based on access to multiple networks, each of which may have only three-nines reliability. That moves cable closer to a Web 2.0 approach to doing business.

In addition, the cable industry may well break from following the lead of standards groups such as the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in its technology implementations, choosing instead to let end users, applications, devices, and the multi-screen demand guide where it needs to go.

Specifically, Comcast is looking to break from the traditional Ethernet hierarchy that has gone in rigid stages from 10 Gig to 100 Gig and now potentially to 400 Gig, he said. Instead, the MSO is looking for Ethernet to be provided in tunable 25 Gbit/s channels that can be bundled to deliver any speed needed. "We will take it to the standards bodies when we have it, versus having them determine our future."

Akhtar didn't delve deeply into virtualization trends such as software-defined networking and network functions virtualization, but he did say that Comcast wants to replace today's vendor-specific network management systems with a more simplified orchestration approach using off-the-shelf hardware. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 6:37:13 PM
Re: Bandwidth
Good to hear Carol.  I was hoping that was what they meant vis-a-vis standards. It would be great to get what the South Korean or Scandanavians have but the geographic, demographic, political, and economic realities will probably prevent that for quite a while in the USA...too bad.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 6:17:58 PM
Re: Bandwidth
I don't think the backbone networks are the issue for faster HSI, so I can't say this is going to thrill and delight the consumers who wish they had what South Koreans or Scandanavians have in terms of broadband. 

And I didn't mean to imply that by moving away from following in the telecom standard's bodies footsteps means they are going rogue, where reliability is concerned. This is more about not waiting for the next iteration of Ethernet standards to evolve. 
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 5:52:27 PM
Re: Bandwidth
Good question @FakeMitchWagner and if so, will it be at the expense of reliability and interoperability?  I hope yes for your question and no for mine!
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 5:47:45 PM
Bandwidth
Will these changes fix the US inability to deliver high-bandwith Internet service that's competitive with what's available in the rest of the developed world?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Introducing 'The New IP'
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/11/2014
Glimpsing the Self-Driving Car
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/15/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed