CED's Editor Jeff Baumgartner invited me to participate in a webcast yesterday on the topic of PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) along with execs from CableLabs, Cox Communications and Lexcom. It was encouraging to hear genuine cable operator enthusiasm for the technology. A rebroadcast will be available at http://www.cedmagazine.com/webcast/
PCMM leverages DOCSIS 1.1 networks to create a common policy management infrastructure that can be used to guarantee Quality of Service (QoS) for any IP application. This is a major leap forward from the one-dimensional functionality of PacketCable 1.x Ð a platform solely for delivering lifeline IP telephony.
PCMM is device and application agnostic, so MSOs are no longer bound to 'cable-specific' devices to enable services. For example, today, if a cable operator wants to offer toll-quality IP telephone services, they have to install an E-MTA at the customer premises. With PCMM, any device in the home can be allocated QoS for a voice session, whether it's a standalone MTA that connects an analog phone, a SIP phone or software client, a game console, a videophone, or Wi-Fi device.
In video, PCMM will be essential for MSOs plans to offer high-quality IPTV services to TVs, PCs, mobile and portable devices. In communications, PCMM provides the bridge between today's PacketCable 1.x infrastructure and the emerging PacketCable 2.0 world of converged communications, which will integrate SIP and IMS to enable presence and personalization. This is essential for supporting fixed-mobile convergence, enhanced voice and video telephony, and 'converged' applications that span across devices and services.
John Coppola, director of DOCSIS technology and engineering at Cox Communications, says the MSO is now conducting PCMM lab trials with plans to move into field trials in the first half of 2006 and commercial deployments by year's end.