The IPTV technology
Appropriate technology is undoubtedly one of the most important enabling drivers of the triple play movement.
The existing solutions for fixed network and TV – even though exhibit different requirements, because typically start from different points of origin – have similar challenges regarding the identification, acquisition and implementation (and integration with existing networks, where applicable) for most appropriate platforms to make a triple play offer.
For the implementation of an offer triple play on a traditional fixed telephony, the solution includes, among others, the use of technologies that include:
Aggregation and access networks
Supported in DSLAMs (DSL access multiplexer) and Ethernet switches/B-RAS (broadband remote access server), the ADSL2+ systems are the agenda.
Some players begin to make deals based on the use of optical systems (FTTx), offering greater capacity, which, despite the higher costs of implementation, if we take into account the compression technology enables further increase the potential of this investment in access infrastructure.
Comprising at least:
- A head-end – Where are located the antennas that receive the signals which then are processed and multiplexed for distribution, consisting of receivers, encoders, decoders and video servers, among other elements;
- Set-top-boxes – Devices used in the end-user apparatus and connected to the TV set for signals and other information reproduction;
- DRM – Systems Software to access control and associated content’s copyright protection;
- Middleware – Software for TV system’s control;
- Management and billing platforms.
IP telephony platforms
Related to infrastructure, are composed of switches and gateways among other equipment.
Naturally, it’s assumed that such platforms are implemented on an IP/MPLS (multi protocol label switching), ideally parameterized to use a traffic proactive management (regarding resources optimization) and QoS (quality of service)techniques regarding selective traffic’s priority policies.
Moreover, it’s necessary to invest in management platforms (OSS – operation support systems) to provide support – especially from the viewpoint of fault and performance management – the operation of triple play infrastructure.
Finally, but equally important, is the importance of structuring the billing platform adjusted to this new form of service offer.
For the implementation of a triple play offer on a traditional TV network, the scenario is somewhat different:
The large distribution TV networks already use IPTV for part of their transport, especially in transmission between head-ends and hubs, but, for the end-user, the video content is carried by digital QAM carriers.
The technology that will support the traffic necessary for the association of multiple contents (simultaneous channels) through a single gateway (cable modem) is the DOCSIS 3.0. This protocol is being developed by Cable Labs and is expected that Version 3.0 of DOCSIS will support traffic that can bear up to 300 Mbps for cable modem.
Among the challenges to a triple play solution offer on a traditional TV network, we have:
The choice of the digital TV standard to be adopted for implementation, the adequacy of compression and line up to the frequency spectrum available is crucial.
The adoption of a networks’ management model suitable for the multiple services’ offer (TV packages, Internet and Telephony) for the same end-user and for the solution’s interface with the other existing control systems (CRM, Billing, ERP etc.) is paramount.
The simultaneous voice and data traffic’s uses creates the need for building seamless backbones for a wide bandwidth support and share of other features such as systems’ management and security.
THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NEW IP SERVICES
Is bound not to consider the transmission system as the only problem in the quality management because there is other points even more critical to consider:
An IP network where the service is carried in real time (be it voice or data), characteristics that could always be somewhat overlooked when it thought only of data, now make all the difference.
Concerns about delay, jitter and packet sequence has influence in the applications’ layer and, consequently, in the voice and video services, making essential to have a good QoS project.
The big question is how to manage services in an IP network so sensitive, so for them, new metrics are necessary to ensure a quality of experience at least similar to which we already are familiar with the traditional services of voice and image.
The “tools for performance” industry and manufacturers are beginning to adapt to this new scenario, where new metrics should be added to systems, bringing to the management centres an important vision of quality on the IP networks that, in fact, is nothing but a great battle for bandwidth and priorities.
This scenario of evolution makes us look better over the new voice, video and data services and find, not only simple, scalable and interoperable platforms, but also partners that can understand the technical challenges of transport and do provide solutions to manage and, at least, maintain the new services with the quality of the current experience in the traditional services.
IPTV – INTERACTIVITY IN ONE TOUCH
A major advantage of IPTV is the almost unlimited possibility of bundling new services, whether for communication or entertainment.
Given the form of integration via IP, you can add services never imagined in the traditional TV format.
The creation of contents for broadcast TV, considering the possibility of real time interactions, is revolutionizing the production industry.
The idea is to have live programs in that viewers can control games, races, resolve quizzes and have interaction with the DJ’s in music programs, all with the possibility of rewarding those who participate.
Ready access to the product’s details after advertising exposure, trigger high-resolution games without the need for special equipment, just using the remote control of the set-top box or a connected joystick, access the menu of the restaurant and ordering dinner or a drink online while watching a movie, are some possibilities among many others.
Finally, the more the technology matures, further increases the range of opportunities for new revenues and new services, always with the aim of attracting and retaining customers.