& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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?
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Executives from Deutsch Telekom, Facebook, AT&T, Vodafone, and Masergy share insights from their company’s major transformation efforts and updates on key issues including open source, managed cloud connections and 5G.
Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBS 2016 Highlights

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of Huawei's UBBS event in Hong Kong.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
European 2020 Digital Agenda

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Anacom's Fatima Barros discusses the plan to bring ultrafast broadband to Portugal by 2020.
Upcoming Live Events
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/20/2016
Nokia Plays It Smart With Major Mobile Devices Brand Deal
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/18/2016
Ingenu Revs Up IoT Rhetoric
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/18/2016
Google Doubles Down on Machine Learning, AI
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/19/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.