Jeff Baumgartner takes up the issue today of how cable operators are looking at IP video delivery. Not how they’re dealing with Web video from a business perspective, but literally how they transport bits to the home. Currently, all cable IP traffic routes through a cable modem termination system (CMTS), but several folks are now looking at ways to bypass the CMTS and drive traffic straight through to the edge QAM. Motorola introduced the approach back in 2006 with the DOCSIS IPTV Bypass Architecture (DiBA). In those long-ago days, Web video was pretty well focused on YouTube, with little professional content available online. Today, with TV all over the Web, the idea of bypassing the CMTS is more relevant, hence new discussions with vendors and in the press.
Interestingly, Motorola has stated publicly that cable customers are not yet at the point of considering something like DiBA. Motorola still believes DiBA could ultimately save cablecos beaucoup bucks, but in the short run, the company has done a lot to improve IP delivery through the traditional CMTS route. There’s DOCSIS 3.0 support, which is important for high-bandwidth apps like video, but there’s also the compelling case that Motorola has made for using an integrated CMTS approach rather than modular CMTS technology. The heart of Motorola’s integrated CMTS solution is the TX32 decoupled downstream module, which adds overall capacity (up to 500%) to an existing CMTS chassis. The cost savings are significant (up to 60% decrease in cost per downstream channel), and for today’s IP environment, the solution is more practical than DiBA.
While the time may not be right for DiBA yet, it is interesting to see the bypass discussion start up again, and to envision where it might go from here.