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New SCTE Standards Groups Prioritize Availability and Reliability

Standards are like a shared language. Standards within the telecommunications industry help communicate the best way to deliver the best connections. True to our commitment to continuously develop technical standards and operational practices that support the broadband telecommunications industry, SCTE® has launched two new standards groups.

Operating under the SCTE Network Operations Subcommittee (NOS), the two new working groups are Network and Service Reliability and DOCSIS 4.0 Tools and Readiness. The purpose is simple: the new groups will examine and develop ideas and approaches that can help address network and service reliability of next generation networks. Our goal through these consensus-developed standards is to design and deploy best practices that enable the capabilities of cable’s 10G platform. As with SCTE’s existing standards, these new groups will help to accelerate new applications of telecommunications in their industries.

Defining the Scope of Excellence in Our Industry

Standards need to be constantly evaluated and updated to ensure not just effectiveness and efficiency, but excellence. And that is part of the mission of SCTE’s NOS, which focuses on network testing, measurements, business continuity, disaster recovery, and other topics relevant to the performance and operational management of cable networks. As the only ANSI-accredited platform for developing technical specifications supporting cable telecommunications, the SCTE Standards program recognized that our industry’s continuous innovation and expansion demands new and advanced tools and measurement techniques to support the future network.

Cable broadband networks are continuously evolving to include the 10G platform, advancing the speed, improving latency, creating better reliability, and enhancing security for subscribers. We anticipate improving that process through these two new working groups. Both the Network and Service Reliability and DOCSIS 4.0 Tools and Readiness groups have broad representation from across the industry, including operators and suppliers, but we are always willing to welcome others who would like to participate in defining these important standards and operational practices. We are currently working on the best approach to aid cable broadband service providers with a common reference for assuring the highest availability and reliability of network and service offerings. Over the next year, both groups will propose new operational practices in the following ways:

  • measurement definitions,
  • how they relate to service and network reliability,
  • how to track statistics and interpret them,
  • provide use cases aligning to the measurements for network and service reliability,
  • how to set control limits, and
  • considering setting specification limits (specs) for possible future documents.

Both groups will assess their areas based on the four pillars that make up the 10G platform: speed, latency, reliability, and security. These new projects will benefit cable broadband service providers as well as the vendors building the equipment being deployed in the next generation networks. Primarily, however, we are focused on building a better broadband experience for all customers and improving access everywhere.

Network and Service Reliability

Chaired by Shane Portfolio, senior vice president of Field Operations Engineering for Comcast Cable, the SCTE NOS Network and Service Reliability working group creates standards and operational practices to increase network and service reliability. The group will focus on all factors which impact reliability, including architecture, design, power, materials, and human interaction. The group vice chair is Aaron Weimer, chief technology officer of Wiring the Future Networks.

Together, the team goal is to assure a resilient, self-monitoring and self-healing network that works as it should without sudden glitches, slowdowns, freezing and other interruptions. The scope includes every portion of the cable network—from coax to optical fiber to Wi-Fi—and all its software and hardware components, which must all be continuously maintained and perform as intended. The scope also includes optimal usage of proactive monitoring and maintenance, which identifies and fixes potential issues before they impact the user experience.

DOCSIS 4.0 Tools and Readiness

The SCTE NOS DOCSIS 4.0 Tools and Readiness working group creates standards and operational practices with the necessary tools for engineering, deployment, operations and maintenance groups. Chaired by Will Berger, vice president, Telemetry Development at Charter Communications, Inc., with Justin Riggert, senior principal engineer at Comcast Cable as vice chair, the group will pursue optimization of HFC access networks for DOCSIS 4.0 technology deployment. The group also creates a common tools architecture and ecosystem for DOCSIS 4.0 network operation, including tools for architects, engineers, NOC and field technicians, and customer service.

Working Together Toward a More Connected Future

As part of the output learned from all our working groups, we are also building reference libraries of solutions and innovations – and learning from each other in the process. Consider joining SCTE and participating in our committees to be a part of standards development. The industry needs your critical thinking, expertise, and shared interest to leverage the technology we have developed to bring us closer, advance our goals, and serve our communities.

To learn more or join a working group, come see as in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, at the Member Lounge at SCTE® Cable-Tec Expo®, September 19-22, or join online from the Network Operations Subcommittee page.

Dean Stoneback is the Senior Director of Engineering and Standards at SCTE®, a subsidiary of CableLabs®, and is responsible for the development of standards and operational practices for the broadband communications industry. Specific targets include assuring that networks are ready for DOCSIS 4 deployments; enabling advanced and IP video services and digital advertising; developing Internet of things (IoT) deployment methods; and supporting the migration of networks from coax to fiber delivery. Prior to joining SCTE in 2014, Dean spent 26 years with General Instrument, Motorola, and ARRIS.

Additional material by Derek DiGiacomo. Derek DiGiacomo is the Senior Director of Energy Management Programs and Business Continuity at SCTE®, a subsidiary of CableLabs®. Under DiGiacomo’s leadership, SCTE, the not-for-profit member organization for cable telecommunications, has seen a dramatic 50% reduction in the dependency on grid power using a renewable power-based microgrid that extends critical system runtime to seven days on average. Derek is a National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) 2017 Energy Exec alumni.

This blog is sponsored by SCTE.

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