Convergence

Driving 5G and HFC Convergence with Multi-Tenancy at the Edge

Leading the Way Toward 5G and HFC Convergence with Multi-Tenancy

Carmela Stuart
Director of Future Infrastructure Group

May 5, 2022

CableLabs is making it easier and more efficient to run 5G, DOCSIS and other applications at the edge. Working with our vendor partners, we’ve remediated challenges and improved the way vendors deploy their cloud-native 5G network stacks into a shared, private cloud setting. This early work acts as a catalyst to a vision in which any application workload can be co-located on infrastructure at any location in an operator’s footprint that serves the applications in the most optimal way.

The 10G Lab

CableLabs launched the “10G Lab” where the goal is to deploy multiple 5G cores and vRAN systems alongside a cable hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) network. More specifically, these applications will run in a cloud-native, multi-tenant, bare-metal environment that starts the journey toward a fully converged network. By co-locating 5G and HFC running as containers on shared infrastructure managed by a common management layer, this first step toward platform convergence enables operators to reap the rewards that come with this type of architecture, including:

  • reduced operating expenses (OpEx), such as power consumption, and reduced capital expenses (CapEx), including hardware costs and facilities to house the hardware, such as head-end or hub locations;
  • the elimination of over-provisioned environments by matching resources to demand (the environment is scaled to optimize network stack operation);
  • automated as opposed to manual deployment of services (more OpEx savings); and
  • the ability to create dynamic, customized network topologies at different geographical locations that improve throughput and reduce latency for subscribers.

In addition, decoupling the network software from proprietary hardware increases the cadence of system upgrades, which reduces the time to market for new capabilities and optimizations.

The following diagram shows the current and future focus of the 10G Lab:

Leading the Way Toward 5G and HFC Convergence with Multi-Tenancy at the Edge

The Experience

CableLabs’ experience working with vendors to deploy network stacks into a multi-tenant environment, initially 5G, has been captured in a recently published white paper (open to the public) entitled “Best Practices for Deploying 5G into a Shared Environment.” There’s also a GitHub repository (referenced in the white paper) that shares the scripts for automating the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster tailored for 5G workloads. The white paper captures learnings related to enhancing security and ensuring that vendor applications are deployed such that they don’t interfere with one another when running in a shared environment. Other areas of discovery include optimizing network configurations, balancing resource allocations, enabling performance settings (particularly for user-plane operations for 5G) and easing the management of multiple applications on shared infrastructure. Be sure to check out the conference recording on this topic at the Envision Vendor Forum 2022 (day 2).

What’s Next

CableLabs has already worked with 5G vendors in the 10G Lab; however, later this year, we plan to expand the lab capabilities with open-source 5G cores and vRAN solutions, as well as a vCCAP. When a level of convergence is achieved—initially through co-locating the 5G and HFC network stacks into a shared environment, and eventually by establishing a tighter integration between 5G and cable wireline technologies through a shared core to support both access network types—operators will further benefit from this singular, multi-modal communication platform that will reduce network complexity, cut operational costs, improve quality and create new business and service opportunities.

Get Involved

The 10G Lab will play a part in three key initiatives. It will:

  • provide a foundation for convergence-related activities, including executing convergence use cases of interest to our members;
  • provide an environment for hosting the 5G challenge and other interoperability events; and
  • be leveraged for proof of concept (POC) demonstrations as part of CableLabs’ innovation initiatives.

The 10G Lab is open to collaboration with CableLabs’ members and the NDA vendor community. We encourage members and vendors to partner with us to showcase the value of running applications in this shared, cloud-native environment. Please contact Carmela Stuart with your ideas! You can also join the CableLabs community as an NDA vendor.

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Events

Mobility & Wireless in a Converged World: Envision Vendor Forum 2022

CableLabs 2022 Envision Vendor Forum

CableLabs
CableLabs

Apr 13, 2022

This year’s CableLabs 2022 Envision Vendor Forum aligns with one of our industry’s biggest goals for the near future: mobile + fixed convergence. Specifically, we’ll focus on the wireless, mobile and converged aspects of network infrastructure that will allow us to build truly seamless and ubiquitous platforms to power next-generation products and services. This short and highly consumable virtual event will occur April 19–20 and is absolutely free. Be sure to register today and become a part of the convergence conversation.

What’s On the Agenda?

Ever since the term “convergence” started popping up in technology circles, CableLabs has been focused on facilitating meaningful and productive discussions about how to make this goal a reality. Considering that there are so many approaches to convergence, the insight of our industry’s vendors and wireless specialists is instrumental to forging a path forward. This year at Envision, we’re planning to exchange ideas and share progress through a combination of panel discussions and presentations by key industry thought leaders who are working on next-generation 5G/Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), 10G, Wi-Fi 6, 3GPP and other wireless and mobility infrastructure products. We’ll also discuss future initiatives and challenges, as well as technology policies, security considerations and emerging operating models.

We’re also sticking to last year’s flexible virtual format, which removes many logistical barriers and allows all registered participants to pose questions directly to subject matter experts. Our main objective is to help you and other CableLabs members and subsidiaries get up to speed on the latest developments in the wireless area of the convergence initiative and align your business goals with the larger picture.

Who’s Invited?

This event is best suited for decision-makers—including executives, senior technologists and strategists on both the cable operator and the vendor side—who are leading the development and implementation of next-generation wireless services in their respective areas.

CableLabs 2022 Envision Vendor Forum is closed to outside press, media and analysts.

The Details

When: April 19–20, 2022, 9:00–11:30 a.m. MDT on both days.

Where: Virtual

How much: FREE. Each person must register separately with their company email by April 17, 2022.

REGISTER NOW

News

The Cable Center Hall of Fame Honors CableLabs’ Chris Lammers

cable center hall of fame 2022

CableLabs
CableLabs

Mar 30, 2022

We’re thrilled to announce that Chris Lammers, CableLabs’ COO Emeritus and Senior Executive Advisor, has been inducted into The Cable Center Hall of Fame for his life-long professional efforts and indelible impact on the cable and broadband industry. This induction is one of the industry’s highest and most exclusive honors, reserved only for the most innovative and influential leaders.

Chris’s mission and vision extends beyond the goals of any one company. A lawyer by trade, he made his debut in the cable arena in the 1980s when he was hired to lead the merger and acquisitions effort at Western Communications, a mid-tier operator (MTO). After holding a series of executive positions at Western, he ultimately served as the company’s CEO for three years before joining CableLabs in 1997. In a number of roles, Chris contributed to the successful rollout of critical technology, which brought high-speed cable internet to millions around the world.

Chris’s experience at Western shaped his holistic vision for creating a truly inclusive global cable community that addresses the unique needs of its smaller members. Chris understood early on that small and mid-sized operators are often more open to trying new ideas and technologies that drive the industry forward. CableLabs offered him a platform for launching numerous initiatives geared toward increased innovation in the MTO space, resulting in the launch of many cutting-edge services that cable customers enjoy today. He has also been instrumental in growing CableLabs’ international membership from 19 to 65 members in 35 countries, making sure that every member has access to the latest developments and technical support. His unwavering moral compass and sense of fairness has helped him build strong professional relationships and teamwork among diverse members and employees, positively contributing to the inclusive culture and image of CableLabs and its community.

Chris is also a great champion of next-generation talent development. To promote interest in the industry, he has taken an active role in the Emma Bowen Foundation’s efforts to unite students with industry professionals, and he has also been involved in the Chinese Executive Media Management Program (CEMMP) to train mid-level managers from Chinese media companies in the United States. Outside his professional endeavors, Chris has led corporate sponsorship efforts for Community Food Share, United Way and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, and he recently became professionally involved with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. These accomplishments are only a snippet of Chris’s contributions to the cable industry and beyond.

We’re incredibly proud to have Chris Lammers as part of our team at CableLabs and deeply appreciate all that he has done for the cable industry over the course of his accomplished career. Congratulations, Chris!

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Events

Join CableLabs Experts at Light Reading’s Annual Cable Next-Gen Conference

Cable Next-Gen Conference

CableLabs
CableLabs

Mar 15, 2022

The 15th annual Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference is kicking off today, and we are excited to connect with our colleagues throughout the cable industry to discuss opportunities and challenges in a post-pandemic era.

We believe it is important that stakeholders throughout the cable industry hear about the latest and greatest trends and developments in cable, broadband, wireless and related technologies so that they can be leveraged to keep ahead of the curve.

The free two-day online event is where industry experts will gather to discuss technologies and platforms shaping the cable space, examining how operators can adapt to the rapidly changing market while maintaining the seamless delivery of existing services that customers have come to demand.

This year’s conference will cover a myriad of timely topics, including the following:

The incredible roster of invited speakers includes leaders and technical experts from Comcast, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, SCTE, the Consumer Technology Association and many others. More so, six speakers from CableLabs will join the conversation to discuss the role that broadband technology is currently playing and will continue to play in the future. Let’s take a look at what attendees can expect to hear from CableLabs at Cable Next-Gen 2022.

Prepping for DOCSIS 4.0 — Tuesday, March 15 1:15–2:30 p.m.

During this panel discussion, panelists — including Doug Jones, principal architect at CableLabs — will dive deep into how cable operators and vendors are preparing for the future. DOCSIS 4.0 technology provides optionality for boosting bandwidth capacity and delivering multi-gig speeds. This session will delve into where the industry stands with prep, including lab and field trials, equipment development and spectrum upgrades.

Wising Up with Wi-Fi 6 — Tuesday, March 15 1:15–2:30 p.m.

This panel discussion will see John Bahr, principal architect, wireless R&D at CableLabs, join industry experts from Altice USA, Incognito, Plume and Schurz Broadband Group to explore how cable operators can play a bigger role in managing today's smart homes. Connected smart home products are surging in growth, which means consumer demand for more bandwidth is exploding and the congestion of the home Wi-Fi network is mounting. This session will tackle how operators can leverage their in-home networks to create and support promising new smart home services and boost their average revenue per user by deploying Wi-Fi 6, AI, cloud and other new technologies and tools.

Enabling Mobile for Cable Operators — Tuesday, March 15 2:45–3:00 p.m.

What will be required for the cable industry to thrive in the mobile ecosystem? We believe it is a number of things such as access to spectrum, network architectures that leverage existing HFC infrastructure and common frameworks for convergence. Join David Debrecht, vice president of wireless technologies at CableLabs, as he touches on these aspects; and don’t miss hearing more during the panel discussion “Finding Cable’s Mobile Mojo.”

Delivering the DAA Difference — Tuesday, March 15 3:00–3:45 p.m.

With the cable industry increasingly adopting distributed access architecture (DAA) technology to move key functions and equipment from the cable headend to the HFC access network, a question has arisen: How much difference is the new technology making? This panel — which includes Jon Schnoor, lead engineer, wired technologies at CableLabs — will look at cable's growing DAA deployments and the lessons learned in the field thus far. Are Remote PHY and Remote MAC/PHY enabling more advanced services and more efficient operations? Has CableLabs' Flexible MAC Architecture (FMA) specification leveled the playing field between the two main DAA variants? This discussion will highlight best practices for getting the most out of DAA, DOCSIS technology and the rest.

Finding Cable's Mobile Mojo — Tuesday, March 15 3:00–3:45 p.m.

As a key part of their product bundles, cable operators are increasingly embracing mobile service. With the Federal Communications Commission recently auctioning Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), C-band and mid-band spectrum licenses for 5G services, operators are curious how to use their new wireless holdings to expand their reach, converge their networks and deliver new services like fixed-wireless access. This panel discussion, which includes David Debrecht, will assess the opportunities and challenges that 5G and wireless/wireline convergence present the cable sector — and how they factor into the industry's mobile and broadband plans.

Good Optics: Pumping PON's Power — Wednesday, March 16 11:55 a.m.–12:40 p.m.

What role will PON play in cable’s future? PON's role is now growing well beyond FTTH, but DOCSIS will not disappear any time soon. With operators steadily putting more fiber in their HFC plant, PON’s support for enterprises, xHaul transport and smart cities makes the network system a solid alternative transmission method for the cable industry. Featuring Curtis Knittle, CableLabs’ director of optical technologies, this panel discussion will evaluate PON’s role in the future of cable, how cable companies should evaluate PON’s next-gen capabilities, the operational advantages of PON versus coaxial cable and much more.

Making Access More Coherent — Wednesday, March 16 2:15–2:30 p.m.

Optical technologies have come a long way in the past 20+ years, allowing service providers to offer ultra-high capacities suitable for meeting current subscriber demands. Are we nearing a leveling-off point, or will capacities continue to increase? How will the access network evolve over the next 20 years? Join Dr. Curtis Knittle, vice president of wired technologies at CableLabs, to hear more about the future of optical access.

Getting Edgy with Edge Computing — Wednesday, March 16 2:45–3:30 p.m.

Edge computing is one of the technology industry’s hottest buzzwords. Today, companies of all shapes and sizes are trying to bring powerful internet functionality as close to users at the edge of their service networks as possible. Consequently, cable operators and tech vendors are now exploring the potential value edge computing can deliver as they aim to develop and deliver next-generation, low-latency connectivity services. Randy Levensalor, principal architect at CableLabs, will join this panel discussion to discuss where the cable space stands in the pursuit of edge computing, the challenges that still need to be overcome and the industry’s emerging edge compute plans.

To better understand these key topics and how cable will succeed in the post-pandemic world, join us online for the annual Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference. Preregister for Cable Next-Gen, we’ll see you there!

REGISTER NOW

10G

The 10G Challenge: How Zoom Leverages Technology to Improve Education

The 10G Challenge: How Zoom Leverages Technology to Improve Education

CableLabs
CableLabs

Mar 14, 2022

Designed to encourage innovation around the network of the future, the 10G Challenge aims to solve real-world problems and showcase the individuals and organizations developing the technologies, services and applications that will rely on 10G to impact the way we live, work, learn and play.

With the 10G Challenge kicking off, CableLabs is excited to introduce another one of the industry experts we’ve tapped to help raise awareness about the contest. From growing a customer base to reaching new markets, strategic collaboration empowers all parties involved in the evolution of a business. That’s why we’ve selected Zoom as the industry expert that will help judge submissions that will impact the way we learn in the future.

The “Learn” Category, Powered by Zoom

Judged by experts from Zoom, a video communications company best known for its Zoom Meetings, the 10G Challenge’s Learn category explores where the classrooms of the future are headed.

We believe that learning will be amplified through virtual reality (VR) worlds, light field holodecks and omnipresent artificial intelligence (AI) assistance in the classrooms of tomorrow. With the right network capacity and visionary thinking, who knows what other technologies will transform the world of education? By conceiving how a powerful new broadband network can help solve real-world problems related to how the world learns, participating innovators are truly helping invent a better future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning and well-being. When schools closed in March 2020 to quell the spread of the virus, the need for effective learning environments didn’t disappear. Consequently, the use of virtual learning models escalated to help ensure that students wouldn’t fall behind. Zoom already has a history of bringing together students, faculty and staff for learning, collaboration and administration, and its communications platform supports remote and hybrid learning environments for primary and secondary schools and institutes of higher education.

Whether delivering online and hybrid learning or better engaging students through impactful virtual experiences, Zoom is helping expand access to education. With a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools, Zoom is improving learning experiences and enhancing student engagement by enabling students to learn from anywhere and connect with other students outside of a traditional classroom. By increasing student participation and learning retention in virtual and hybrid classrooms, Zoom helps improve learning outcomes and expands traditional classrooms to meet the growing needs of today’s students.

Finally, Zoom provides flexible work environments, ultimately ensuring continuity of academic services and communications across entire education enterprises. By utilizing resources and hardware you already have to expand your capabilities and community offerings, Zoom supports educators with maximizing their resources to enrich both teaching and learning.

By participating in the 10G Challenge, Zoom will have an up-close, firsthand look at how innovators are advancing life-changing technologies and supporting fellow trailblazers. And Zoom will see how the development of tomorrow’s solutions will leverage a new, powerful broadband network that’s poised to impact the world—no matter where education takes place.

Together, CableLabs and Zoom are thrilled to power the next era of broadband innovation. For more information about the 10G Challenge, or to submit your idea, please visit 10Gchallenge.com.

LEARN MORE & SUBMIT YOUR IDEA

News

Accelerating 5G Network Innovation: CableLabs Named Host Lab for 5G Challenge

5G Challenge

David Debrecht
Vice President, Wireless

Mar 2, 2022

Bringing rapid innovation and increased diversity and competition to mobile services is a national imperative. To accomplish this goal, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS)—the research and engineering arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)—is encouraging the evolution of open and interoperable 5G networks through the 5G Challenge.

The goal of the 5G Challenge is to accelerate the development and widespread deployment of open and interoperable 5G networks with true plug-and-play operation. In support of this effort, CableLabs was recently named the Host Lab for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and NTIA 5G Challenge. CableLabs brings an advanced mobile wireless network laboratory and expertise with open and interoperable network technologies to this collaborative initiative.

The 5G Challenge will leverage CableLabs’ recent lab deployment of fully virtualized 5G networks, including multiple cores, multiple radio access networks and new network emulation equipment—as well as our growing expertise in mobile network technologies. Moreover, CableLabs is well situated to host the 5G Challenge, given our long-standing role in the industry and our work with multiple vendors to drive interoperable network technologies. The value of CableLabs’ 5G lab extends well beyond this challenge as a resource for ongoing research and development and interoperability testing in mobile network technologies.

CableLabs is deeply involved in the industry’s work to develop flexible 5G technologies—including at 3GPP, O-RAN Alliance and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)—to enable new vendor opportunities, enhance network security and streamline integration and interoperability. We’ll leverage this experience and our state-of-the-art 17,000-square-foot lab to host a successful 5G Challenge that meets NTIA’s goals. We’re constantly building for the future and looking to support initiatives and vendors that can help us revolutionize the technology the world relies on. More details will be available this spring when NTIA releases the invitation to participate in the challenge.

Read more about the 5G Challenge initiative by visiting NTIA’s site.

HFC Network

Bandwidth Usage of Popular Video Conferencing Applications on a 50/10 Mbps Service Tier

Bandwidth Usage of Popular Video Conferencing Applications on a 50/10 Mbps Service Tier

Sheldon Webster
Lead Architect - R&D Wired Group

Jay Zhu
Senior Engineer

Doug Jones
Principal Architect

Mar 1, 2022

As we enter the new year, consumers, workplaces, and schools continue to rely on video conference applications. We previously studied Bandwidth Usage of Popular Video Conferencing Applications in November 2020 and February 2021.  In May 2021, we studied Hourly Data Consumption of Popular Video Conferencing Applications. Today, we share a study of bandwidth usage on a 50Mbps/10Mbps Service Tier by popular video conferencing applications and how they perform with the addition of background traffic in the upstream.

This blog is a snapshot of the conference applications' bandwidth usage in December 2021.

The current testing used a 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream service tier, which doubles the upstream speed from the previous work with a 50/5 Mbps tier. With the faster upstream tier, this effort looks at both

  • Bandwidth consumed for 10 concurrent conference sessions, and
  • The behavior of 10 concurrent conference sessions in the presence of additional upstream traffic, specifically an upstream 5 Mbps UDP (user datagram protocol) flow.

Apple FaceTime, Google Meet, and Zoom were examined. When possible, we tested the available desktop version of each video conference application.  To avoid any appearance of endorsement of a particular conferencing application, we do not label the figures below with the specific application under test. As described below, in the presence of the 5 Mbps UDP flow in the upstream the three applications behave similarly and without any negative impact to the video-conferencing application.

In addition to the video conferencing streams, we add a 5 Mbps UDP stream of upstream traffic in the background to illustrate the capability of a 10 Mbps upstream tier. Besides video conferencing applications, other popular activities that drive upstream usage are online gaming, Wi-Fi connected cameras, and file uploads. The additional 5 Mbps stream is meant to capture a wide range of common use cases. For example, concurrent use of one to two online gaming sessions (100 to 500 Kbps each), three to four Wi-Fi connected cameras (500 Kbps to 1 Mbps each), and a file upload of 2 Mbps (900 megabytes over an hour) would all fit within this 5 Mbps upstream budget. As we show below, even with this 5 Mbps traffic and 10 concurrent sessions of the video conferencing applications, there is still upstream bandwidth available for additional activity by a subscriber with a 50 Mbps/10 Mbps service tier.

The lab setup was modified from our previous testing. The ten laptops used during this testing were different than the previous blogs; this group of laptops consisted of five MacOS and five Windows 10 operating systems. The laptops were standard consumer grade laptops without any upgrades such as those commonly used by gamers.

What did not change is the same DOCSIS 3.0 Technicolor TC8305c gateway and same CommScope E6000 cable modem termination system (CMTS) from the previous testing were used during this testing. Additionally, like the previous testing, all the laptops used wired Ethernet connections through a switch to the gateway to ensure no variables outside the control of the broadband provider would impact the speeds delivered (e.g., all the variables associated with Wi-Fi performance).  Throughout testing, we ensured there was active movement in view of each laptop’s camera to simulate real-world use cases more fully.

As in the previous blogs, this research does not consider the potential external factors that can affect Internet performance in a real home -- from the use of Wi-Fi, to building materials, to Wi-Fi interference, to the age and condition of the user’s connected devices -- but it does provide a helpful illustration of the baseline capabilities of a 50/10 Mbps broadband service.

As before, the broadband speeds were over-provisioned. For this testing, the 50/10 broadband service was over-provisioned by 25%, a typical cable operator configuration for this service tier.

To establish a baseline, we began by repeating the data collections from the three previous efforts and were able to confirm the results.  In the seven months since our last testing, many of the application developers issued updates to the applications, thus we compared the current observations with past observations looking for consistency instead of identical results.

Conferencing Application A

Figure 1 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions over 350 seconds while using App A. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that even with a 10 Mbps upstream tier, the total upstream usage stays around 2.5 Mbps. The downstream usage stays, on average, around 18 Mbps, which leaves roughly 32 Mbps of downstream headroom for other services, such as streaming video, that can use the broadband connection at the same time.

Figure 1
 

Figure 2 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions and the addition of 5 Mbps of upstream traffic over 350 seconds while using App A. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that before the upstream 5 Mbps was applied the total upstream usage was around 2.5 Mbps. At about 60 seconds, the additional 5 Mbps UDP stream was added to the upstream which causes the total to increase to about 7.5 Mbps.  As shown in Figure 3, the addition of 5 Mbps of traffic causes no noticeable impact on the upstream conference flows. At about 320 seconds that 5 Mbps stream is removed, and the upstream usage goes immediately back to where it was before that stream was applied. During the entire test the downstream usage stays, on average, around 18 Mbps even when the additional upstream bandwidth is consumed.

Figure 2
 

Figure 3 shows just upstream usage where the upstream traffic for the 10 concurrent sessions of App A is shown with dark orange, and the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic is shown in light orange. This view emphasizes that the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic does not appear to have an impact on the upstream bandwidth usage of the 10 concurrent video sessions of App A.

Figure 3
 

Conferencing Application B

Figure 4 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions over 350 seconds while using App B. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that even with a 10 Mbps upstream tier, the total upstream usage stays under 2.5 Mbps. The downstream usage stays, on average, around 13 Mbps, which leaves roughly 37 Mbps of downstream headroom for other services.

Figure 4
 

Figure 5 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions and the addition of 5 Mbps of upstream traffic over 350 seconds while using App B. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that before the upstream 5 Mbps was applied the total upstream usage was around 2.5 Mbps. At about 60 seconds, an additional 5 Mbps stream was added to the upstream which causes the total to increase to about 7 Mbps.  As shown in Figure 6, the addition of the 5 Mbps of traffic causes no noticeable impact on the upstream conference flows. At about 270 seconds that 5 Mbps stream is removed, and the upstream usage goes immediately to where it was before that stream was applied. During the test the downstream usage stays, on average, around 13 Mbps even when the additional upstream bandwidth is consumed.

Figure 5
 

Figure 6 shows just upstream usage where the upstream traffic for the 10 concurrent sessions of App B is shown with dark orange, and the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic is shown in light orange. This view demonstrates that the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic does not appear to have an impact on data usage of the 10 concurrent video sessions of App B.

Figure 6
 

Conferencing Application C

Figure 7 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions over 350 seconds while using App C. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that even with a 10 Mbps upstream tier, the total upstream usage stays around 4 Mbps. The downstream usage stays, on average, around 10 Mbps, which leaves roughly 40 Mbps of downstream headroom for other services.

Figure 7
 

Figure 8 shows total access network usage for the 10 concurrent sessions and the addition of 5 Mbps of upstream traffic over 350 seconds while using App C. The blue line is the total downstream usage, and the orange line is total upstream usage. Note that before the upstream 5 Mbps was applied the total upstream usage was around 4 Mbps. At about 70 seconds, an additional 5 Mbps stream was added to the upstream which causes the total to increase to about 9 Mbps.  As shown in Figure 9, the addition of the 5 Mbps of traffic causes no noticeable impact on the upstream conference flows. At about 260 seconds that 5 Mbps stream is removed, and the upstream usage goes immediately back to where it was before that stream was applied. During the entire test, the downstream usage stays, on average, around 10 Mbps even when the additional upstream bandwidth is consumed.

Figure 8
 

Figure 9 shows just upstream usage where the upstream traffic for the 10 concurrent sessions of App C is shown with dark orange, and the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic is shown in light orange. This view demonstrates that the additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic does not appear to have an impact on the data usage of the 10 concurrent video sessions of App C.

Figure 9

Summary

This investigation looked at three popular video conferencing applications over an upstream tier of 10 Mbps and a downstream tier of 50 Mbps.

The three applications exhibited similar behavior of using under 4 Mbps of upstream during 10 concurrent conference sessions. When an additional 5 Mbps of upstream traffic was added, these three conference apps took it in stride; there were no noticeable changes to either the upstream or downstream consumption of the 10 concurrent conference sessions and no negative impact to the quality of the video conferencing sessions.

The successful testing of 10 concurrent video sessions plus 5 Mbps of additional background traffic illustrates the capability of a 50/10 service tier to support the broadband needs of telework, remote education, telehealth, and other use cases that rely heavily on video conferencing applications. The testing also illustrates that a 50/10 service tier can readily support a household with multiple users engaging on video conference platforms as well as support other simultaneous uses.

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Events

See You at OFC 2022

2022 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC)

Steve Jia
Distinguished Technologist, Wired Technologies

Feb 22, 2022

The 2022 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC)—the hub of the optical industry and the premier event in fiber communications and networking—will take place March 6–10, 2022, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. This year, the event will be presented in a hybrid format that offers both in-person and virtual sessions.

For over 40 years, OFC has been the world’s largest conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals. The event has drawn attendees from all corners of the globe to focus on the latest market trends, technology advances and groundbreaking innovations. The program is truly comprehensive—from near- and long-term research to the latest deployments, from fiber/components to comprehensive systems and networks, and from five-day technical sessions to one-stop-shop exhibitions.

Optical fiber communication technologies are critical to cable operators’ success in supporting broadband, wireless and enterprise connectivity services. Cable operators have long invested in deploying more fiber deeper into their networks.

At CableLabs, our Optical Center of Excellence continues to be at the forefront of developing innovative approaches for high-performance fiber connectivity in cable operators’ networks, including point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transport applications from the network core, in aggregation, at the edge, and to homes. These innovations demonstrate long-term evolution toward a converged network, a roadmap to extend the life of cable’s infrastructure while continuing to lower the cost per bit, and methodologies for provisioning optical connectivity faster and more reliably.

Below is a list of CableLabs optical experts who will address a broad range of industry trends and technologies at the 2022 OFC conference.

 

Time

Program

Sunday, 6 March
13:00–15:30 PDT
Dr. Jing Wang, Presenter
S1D • Is Optical Wireless Still Relevant for 6G or Will Fiber-radio be Enough?
Sunday, 6 March
16:00–18:30 PDT
Dr. Zhensheng Jia, Workshop Organizer
S2B • Can Optical Communication Infrastructure Double its Values by Introducing Fiber Sensing?
Monday, 7 March
9:15–9:30 PDT
Dr. Haipeng Zhang, Presenter
M1I.5 • Frequency Comb and Injection Locking Based Mutual Protections in Coherent Optical Access Network
Tuesday, 8 March
14:00–16:00 PDT
Dr. L. Alberto Campos, Panel Organizer
Tu2C • Technologies for Breaking the Metro/Access Barrier
Tuesday, 8 March
14:00–16:00 PDT
Dr. Curtis Knittle, Presenter
Tu2C • Coherent Optics and the Future of PON
Thursday, 10 March
8:00–10:00 PDT
Dr. Mu Xu, Panel Organizer
Th1A • Has the Time Come for Coherent Optics in Access Networks?
Thursday, 10 March
8:00–10:00 PDT
Dr. Zhensheng Jia, Presenter
Th1A • Coherent Optical Technology and Novel Architectures for Access Networks
Thursday, 10 March
14:00–14:30 PDT
Dr. L. Alberto Campos, Presenter
Th3E.1 • Coherent Optics for Access from P2P to P2MP (invited)
Thursday, 10 March
14:30–14:45 PDT
Dr. Mu Xu, Presenter
Th3E.2 • Intelligent Burst Receiving Control in 100G Coherent PON With 4×25G TFDM Upstream Transmission

We also have a collaborative project with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) that will demonstrate a novel C-band wavelength selective switch well equipped to handle the demands of scaling access at the edge network. Please join us to discuss how these technologies will shape the future of our broadband network.

In addition to my participation in two of these sessions, I’m honored to have been elected Optica Fellow (formerly Optical Society of America) for outstanding contributions to the development of interoperable coherent optical systems and fiber-wireless converged technologies for broadband access networks. I will be recognized at the OFC Awards Ceremony & Luncheon. I hope to see you there!

The Future of Cable

At CableLabs, we’re committed to inventing new ways to keep people connected and improve their broadband experience. Now, with the 10G Platform initiative in the cable industry, there’s no doubt that optical fiber transport will play an increasingly important role in enabling the delivery of fast and affordable bandwidth for all services, with lower latencies, enhanced reliability and better security in a scalable manner. Over the past few years, CableLabs has successfully developed a series of specifications to enable the development of interoperable transceivers using P2P coherent optics that are access-optimized to address the increasing traffic-aggregation needs of cable and shorter-length distribution networks in terms of capacity, network topologies and deployment scenarios.

Currently, we’re working on a coherent passive optical network (CPON) project to develop a suite of specifications for next-generation 100G single-wavelength PON to enable service providers the ultimate cable connectivity platform and stay ahead of their convergence, business and residential needs. If you’d like to participate in the CPON working group activities, please submit your email request to workinggroups@cablelabs.com.

See you at the 2022 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition!

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Innovation

10G and Immersive Media Experiences

10G and Immersive Media Experiences

Austin Pahl
Software Engineer, Immersive Media Experiences

Feb 10, 2022

Imagine if you could create a life-like hologram of a given subject—and then be able to study and experience every detail of that subject later without being physically near it. Sounds like science fiction, right? We’re living in an era when such futuristic technology is already available to us! To make this kind of experience a reality, we can capture the rays of light that bounce off a particular subject, and what makes this possible is “light field media.”

CableLabs’ Immersive Media Experiences team has been researching the ways that light fields can transform the ways we live, learn, work and play. Today, there are already many ways to capture light fields, ranging from the latest smartphone cameras to professional light stage studios that capture the tiniest of details. To view a light field, the latest holographic displays provide high-resolution 3D video without the necessity of headwear or face tracking. Experiencing this technology in person feels like magic!

OTOY’s LightStage

OTOY’s LightStage

How 10G Will Deliver an Immersive Future

10G will bring unprecedented speed, reliability and security to the world, which is why it’s essential for enabling light field media. Light fields require tremendous amounts of data—more than any other technology that currently exists. Traditional photographs and videos store only a grid of pixels, whereas light fields track exponentially more light rays of colors and directions. Although the ecosystem continues to evolve and reach more people, the cable industry is also preparing to deliver these immersive experiences over the network.

As part of our strategy to support the emergence of immersive media, CableLabs is a contributing member of the Immersive Digital Experiences Alliance (IDEA), a collaboration between diverse experts across immersive media technologies. IDEA is producing royalty-free specifications that enable standardized end-to-end conveyance of immersive media. These standards will make it possible to create, distribute and enjoy immersive content as the landscape grows richer over time.

From CableLabs’ Near Future series

From CableLabs’ Near Future series

Watch our 10G and immersive media experiences video, in which the Immersive Media Experiences team demonstrates how light fields work and showcases the latest commercially available light field displays.

Watch 10G and Immersive Media Experiences

Innovation

  2022 Tech Innovation Predictions

2022 Tech Predictions

Phil McKinney
President & CEO

Jan 27, 2022

It’s 2022, and it’s time for our annual tech innovation predictions. This year is going to be the year of Transforming Human Interactions. The latest innovations highlighted in our video will have an enormous impact on the industry and consumers and require robust broadband networks:

Escalation of AI and Natural Language Systems

“For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values."- Tim Cook

Technologies like virtual assistants and voice command cars are key innovations we experience throughout each day. Based on artificial intelligence using very large data sets, they function through command and control. While many believe these innovations have reached their peak, recently there’s been announcements of technologies that will make them 25 times better. This reminds us that there’s always room for radical, differentiated types of improvements for our everyday life.

Robots as Companions

“Robots can be our partners.” -Kate Darling

One example of the application for AI and natural language processing is robots. Humans are social animals. The COVID pandemic and the increase in social isolation has prompted the need to explore alternative technologies that could provide digital companionship. Imagine a world where robots can provide human-to-human communication, playing a board game or updating your health information. This ability to have natural interaction with a robotic companion will transform the quality of life for multiple generations.

Combining Blockchain with the Metaverse

“The defining quality of the Metaverse is presence, which is the feeling that you’re really there with another person or in another space.” - Mark Zuckerberg

In this shared digital world, science fiction will become reality and everything in our world will be personalized just for us. Walk down the street and see every street sign tailored to you, go shopping, attend a concert or create a new pet. This next stage of the way we use the internet, connectivity, and computing will open endless possibilities around how we interact as a society and live, work, learn and play.

Tackling Privacy and Security Together

“In a country built on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than privacy.” - Aaron Sorkin

We can’t go through a single day without hearing about a hacker targeting everyone from large enterprises to government networks to individual people. Recently, governments have begun partnering to tackle this issue. By coming together to innovate solutions to block ransomware attacks, we can keep our data and our livelihood safe.

Watch the video below to learn more.

Want to be a part of these predictions? Join the 10G Challenge.

The 10G Challenge is powered by CableLabs in collaboration with industry experts to inspire innovators to leverage the emerging 10G network. The Challenge is designed to support the development of technologies, services and applications that rely on the network of the future. The 10G network is bringing higher internet speeds, more security, lower latency and improved reliability. 10G is a new, powerful broadband network that serves as a platform for innovators to develop new solutions that impact the way we live, work, learn and play.

The future will be driven by the technologies we invent today.

JOIN THE 10G CHALLENGE