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Motorola Mobility Users Conference: Sharing the Vision

This week in San Diego, we are meeting with our customers and industry peers to discuss the latest trends, new technology innovations and share ideas on how to breakthrough today’s challenges. Front-and-center to the discussion will be around the shift to IP, but we’ll also focus on a multitude of changes facing the industry and hear from Motorola executives, customers and industry thought leaders outlining solutions for each challenge. Of course, we’ll be showing off innovations from us for example – Motorola Televation, Motorola Medios Software Suite, 4Home Solutions and MPEG-4 encoding solutions.

The conference kicks off with Motorola Mobility’s president, Dan Moloney, sharing his vision for how Motorola is approaching today’s industry challenges and offer his perspective on the future of converged media experiences. Guest speakers include a couple of our customers and Shelly Palmer, host of NBC Universal’s “Live Digital with Shelly Palmer.”

Senior leaders, John Burke, Joe Cozzolino and Larry Robinson from our Converged Experiences, Network Infrastructure and Home Devices businesses respectively will be sharing the stage with Rob McLaughlin, senior vice president and general manager, Global Home Go-to-Market, outlining solutions to meet today’s industry demands. We’ll also hear from our Chief Technology Officer Geoff Roman on trends transforming our industry and his vision for what’s next, and Vice President & General Manager of Video Processing Solutions, Kevin Wirick, on the evolution of digital video and multi-screen experiences. Follow our blog, Twitter and check out YouTube for insight and video from the User Conference.

Cable Goes Commercial

Light Reading recently held a conference on cable commercial services, and the upshot is that cable has gotten serious on the business front. According to Jeff Baumgartner, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox have all joined the $1B club, with at least one billion dollars of revenue in commercial services.

The consensus for the future is that the cable industry will move forward with EPON rather than GPON for all-fiber networks designed to be marketed to businesses. This is not just a contrarian move in response to Verizon’s use of GPON. According to the MSO community, EPON makes sense economically, and it will offer a quicker path to 10-Gbps speeds both upstream and downstream.

Of course, cable operators aren’t going to abandon investments they’ve made elsewhere just to turn over a new EPON leaf, even with new revenue in the offing. So we’re back to discussing DPoE – DOCSIS Provisioning over EPON. Motorola’s got a hand in that game, and started talking about DPoE services back at the SCTE show in October. Will this be a big theme for 2011? Yes or no, it’s clear that after years of talking the talk around commercial services, the cable community is ready to walk the walk.

Another Win for Passive Optical LAN

Chalk up another win for Motorola’s Passive Optical LAN (POL) solution. Verizon Business announced today that it deployed the fiber-to-the-desktop technology with Russell Investments in the financial services company’s new global headquarters. According to the press release, Russell was “seeking to reduce power consumption to its global trading floor while supporting laptops, printers and wireless access points as well as applications such as voice over IP, video conferencing and security cameras.” The new optical network reportedly has “the capability to expand to 25 terabits worth of bandwidth by using technological advances.”

All signs point to the cable industry using EPON for its commercial services efforts. Verizon continues to get mileage in the commercial sector out of GPON.

EPON for Cable Commercial Services

HFC still has runway for residential cable services, but commercial services are a different animal. One of the discussions taking place at the Motorola booth is around using EPON for cable business offerings. An all-fiber option is compelling for the enterprise, particularly when you consider data backup needs and the upstream capacity that requires. And for cable providers, the investment is a lot easier to swallow when there’s new revenue to be made. There is a challenge, however. The cable industry operates in a DOCSIS environment, and would like to continue doing so for a long while. Enter DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON, or DPoE.

Earlier this week Jeff Baumgartner wrote about plans by CableLabs to release specs for DPoE. The idea is to provision everything over one platform, and Motorola is rolling the technology into its Unified Business Services. Operators get EPON, but stay in a DOCSIS world. Not a bad combination.

Motorola POL Gets a New Reseller Agreement

More news for Motorola Passive Optical LAN (POL) today. Motorola has signed an agreement with Advanced Media Technologies (AMT) to resell the POL solution in North and South America. AMT actually runs a reseller program, so a roster of AMT’s authorized resellers will have the ability to take the POL technology out to customers of all sizes. The POL goal: Streamline internal enterprise networks with a GPON solution designed to cut down on capital and operating expenses. Here’s what Joe Cozzolino, Motorola’s GM for the Access Networks business had to say.

For those companies looking to drive real cost out of IT operations, Passive Optical LAN offers a disruptive TCO equation over traditional LAN architectures. We’re very pleased to extend our relationship with AMT to include Motorola Mobility’s Passive Optical LAN solutions.  AMT’s advanced distribution capabilities and extensive support programs will play a key role in the success of their new Passive Optical LAN VAR program.

Getty Images Gets Passive Optical LAN

Rarely do I get to talk about enterprise broadband on this blog, but today is an exception. Motorola announced a deployment with Getty Images in London of its Passive Optical LAN (POL) solution. The company launched POL last year, and has made steady progress in the enterprise environment with the all-fiber technology. In Getty’s case, Motorola worked with Corning, which provided the fiber-structured cabling components, and TCS Cabling, which provided integration and structured cabling supports. The motivating factors for Getty were the overall cost savings of POL over traditional LAN, and the high reliability and simplicity of the POL architecture.

To recap how POL works,  it uses OLTs and ONTs just as any residential GPON network deployment would. In an enterprise configuration, however, the technology solution reduces both hardware and maintenance costs compared to a standard LAN set-up. A single fiber optic cable run from an ONT can support four end-users – no CAT5/CAT6 cable required. POL also reduces the need for many workgroup switches, and the Motorola ONT equipment can even be powered over Ethernet. The very nature of the Passive Optical Network (PON) means there are fewer active components, and therefore fewer potential maintenance issues.

Long Live HFC

Despite the bandwidth benefits of running fiber to the home, the reality is that the HFC networks deployed by cable operators today still have life left in them. Looking for more IP video? How about a 1Gbps throughput rate? It’s all feasible over HFC with careful, well-thought-out network planning.

Years ago Motorola introduced a bandwidth calculator tool for determining network needs based on an operator’s subscriber and service environment. It’s still in use today, but with more variables thrown into the mix. The model now includes considerations for multiple concurrency levels for different services (IP video versus traditional VOD, for example), whether a service is early in its lifespan or has matured, and the impact of node splits on total costs. All of these factors play a role in determining how deep operators should be driving fiber into their networks. Some situations call for an FTTH network, but many don’t demand it right away.

The bottom line is that there are still a number of ways to optimize fiber-to-the-node networks. Decreasing service group sizes is a big one, as is balancing out the service mix. With existing technologies, we’re still looking out five to seven years into the future. That’s a lifetime in the tech world, and a good reason not to replace HFC networks today.