Juniper’s IPTV Pipe Dream

Turning a “triple play” need not necessarily be a pipe dream for
network operators.

Juniper Networks is rolling out two new product enhancements that it claims will improve the efficiency, reliability and scalability of operator
networks for triple play, and specifically IPTV, content services.

The Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation feature for Juniper’s E-series Broadband
Services Router allows for bandwidth to be flexibly distributed to
individual content subscribers.

Juniper’s Service Deployment System (SDX) is also being enhanced for IPTV
and triple-play services with a new Network Resource Manager feature. SDX is
a customizable application that enables service providers to create and
deploy IP services.

The Network Resource Manager addition executes Call
Admission Controller (CAC) on a per-video-session request basis, which is
supposed to give subscribers the right amount of bandwidth based on the
specified quality of service requirements.

In conjunction with Juniper’s Broadband Services routers, Label Switched
Paths (LSPs) are created on the fly by the Network Resource Manager, which
automatically assigns bandwidth from the content source to the network edge
based on utilization. The LSPs can be transparently re-routed to a
secondary video source in the event of an outage.

Juniper’s new feature rollout is all part of an effort to help service
providers overcome the barriers to IPTV adoption and triple-play service
rollout.

Dave Boland senior manager of next-generation solutions at Juniper,
explained that there are quite a few obstacles that service providers face
when rolling out triple play services. They range from acquiring the
television and video content to reducing the local loop distances to
choosing the right set-top box.

Boland noted that one of the principal challenges is the ability to
provide enough bandwidth per subscriber to reliably deliver high-bandwidth
multiple services. He also said controlling the cost associated with
triple play roll outs in order to keep acquisition costs per subscriber as
low as possible is also a challenge.

In Boland’s view, legacy Broadband Remote Access Server (BRAS) router
platforms only offer limited quality of service and were designed for DSL
Internet access only.

“A newer generation of broadband routing platforms with features
specifically designed for rolling out triple play services is required,”
Boland told internetnews.com. “The features announced today enable providers to ensure the QoS of multiple offerings, even in times of network
congestion.”

Juniper isn’t the only vendor that recognizes that network
operators need new platforms to enable IPTV.

Alcatel, Cisco and Redback are
among those that are also active in the space, though Boland thinks that
Juniper’s approach has a particular advantage.

“Juniper believes that because video content comes from multiple sources,
the infrastructure needs to be designed to provide a quality user experience
independent of the source,” Boland explained. “This approach, contrary to
our competitors’, avoids costly overlay/parallel delivery networks.”

In Boland’s view other “multi-edge” network architectures like those from
Alcatel are actually separate overlay networks, which are inefficient
because bandwidth cannot be dynamically allocated between routers and
services.

Other router vendors, such as Cisco and Redback, don’t deliver the
advanced bandwidth allocation features or the scale of Juniper’s E320 router,
according to Boland.


“If interactive broadband services are the way in the future, then it is
critical that the network is architected to support them in a way that
enables service providers to attract and retain customers and increase
revenues,” Boland said.

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