Northern Exposure

2:55 PM -- TORONTO -- SCTE Canadian Summit 2011 -- As OFC/NFOEC gets going in Los Angeles, the cable guys will also be getting their tech on here at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 's third-annual conference north of the border.

Although new cable product announcements are expected to be light here at the conference, it will still hit on some key trends and topics that will continue to grow in importance in 2011 and beyond. Here are a few things we'll be keeping an eye on:

  • Tony Werner's keynote
    When Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s CTO and EVP speaks, we all listen, since he's playing a primary role in guiding the tech and operation's agenda for the largest cable MSO on the planet.

    And the topic of his address -- "Broadband Video: Challenge or Opportunity" -- is a hot one. Given cable's move toward TV Everywhere and its measured embrace of over-the-top video so far, I'll go ahead and go out on a limb and say he'll be talking up the opportunities.

    Oh, and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's sponsoring Werner's keynote. Just sayin'. (See Huawei, Ericsson Get a Piece of Comcast's IMS Action .)

  • Cable technology smackdown
    Day one will also include the SCTE Technology Challenge, a showcase of vendors that will give 10-minute demos of their "highly innovative" products and then leave it up to the crowd to vote for a winner.

    No pre-show odds available in Las Vegas, but the cage match will feature Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Aurora Networks Inc. , Genband Inc. , Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC).

  • More CMAP on tap
    A cable tech conference without something about the Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP) is like an event without sunshine.

    Here in Toronto, more light will be shed on the IP video components of CMAP during a session headed up by Jeff Finkelstein, senior director of network architecture of Cox Communications Inc. , and John Ulm, fellow of the technical staff, CTO office, for Motorola Mobility LLC .

  • The big picture
    Just about every big cable topic -- the migration to IP video, cloud computing, IPv6, business services and the threat of OTT video -- is expected to come up during the day-two opening session, which features Werner, SCTE SVP of Engineering and CTO Daniel Howard, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-Canada Senior Director of Video Business Development Chris MacFarland and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) SVP of Access Networks Dermot O'Carroll.

  • Swimming upstream with D3
    In the wake of news that Docsis 3.0-powered upstream capabilities are slated to reach production readiness at Comcast by the end of the first quarter and Cox's recent field trial that produced a 400Mbit/s upstream link, it seems that cable's upstream channel-bonding era is about to blow wide open. (See Comcast Preps a Docsis 3.0 Boost and Cox, Moto Test 400Mbit/s Docsis 3.0 Upstream.)

    But the cable upstream remains a nasty, noisy place. A session with Moto Principal Engineer Robert Thompson and Clearcable Networks Director of Access Network Engineering Jason Lowe promises to give some early "best practices" for upstream channel bonding and serve up a catalog of upstream impairments that MSOs need to be wary of.

    Those are just a few of the things we'll be checking out over the next couple of days, so please check back early and often for news from the show.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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