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March 20, 2006
By Paula Bernier
Service providers offering IPTV services for the first time will have just one chance to satisfy customers, so they better get it right the first time, said Spirent plc Vice President Bahaa Moukadam. That means service providers need to be able to control the subscriber experience and deliver a high-quality picture.
Delivering a good subscriber experience means ensuring such basic things as quick channel changes, and making sure that when customers punch in a new channel, they get the channel they request.
These are simple things from a subscriber point of view, but extremely challenging from the service provider point of view, said Moukadam, noting that when lots of customers in a given neighborhood changes channels at the same time, it can create problems.
As for picture quality, Moukadam said, it can easily degrade if the IP network is not designed for real-time applications. With the triple play, he said, various voice, data and video applications are competing for the IP pipe in the house, so there could be issues with network impairment or issues caused by the video itself.
Moukadam explained that high-action video has greater demands on the network infrastructure than would a talking head on the TV, for example.
And these issues are just a subset of the challenges service providers face in offering video services within the triple play, he said.
Responding to those challenges, Spirent at TelecomNEXT this week has announced the availability of V-Factor technology from video quality and triple play monitoring company QoSmetrics as an optional release for Spirents Abacus VTS, Spirent TestCenter and SmartSight products.
The Spirent Abacus VTS looks at video quality in the presence of data and voice, and is ideally targeted at equipment vendor and service provider use before service launches. Spirent TestCenter handles video quality and infrastructure testing, so a service provider can simulate a neighborhood of set-top boxes, for example, to test scalability on a number of fronts prior to launch. SmartSight is for network management and monitoring on the network. This video test system, which monitors live networks, looks at video quality and triple-play metrics.
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