Friday, December 21, 2007

DSL Forum Issues IPTV Standard

The DSL Forum issued Technical Report, TR-135 Data Model for a TR-069 Enabled STB and the amendment of TR-069 in order to expedite IPTV rollouts and improve the way operators manage their IPTV offering.

TR-135 defines the data model for remote management of Digital Television (IPTV or broadcast) functionality on set-top boxes using protocols defined in TR-069 Amendment 2 and TR-106. This report provides the data model for describing set-top box capabilities such as PVR, IGMP, quality of service, as well as providing a means to enable video service performance monitoring. General use cases are also described in the report, including standard data model profiles that would typically be seen while remotely managing a device of this nature.

In TR-135, the Auto-Configuration Server (ACS) may perform some initial configuration of a newly installed set-top box , but its main functions are configuration of set-top box parameters for trouble management and collection of statistics for Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring.

The goals of TR-135 are:
  • Enable configuration by the ACS of those objects and parameters that are not the responsibility of the IPTV Service Platform.
  • Enable operational status monitoring and checking of specific parameters of an STB from an ACS.
  • Enable performance monitoring of an arbitrary set of STBs, from one to millions, through estimates of QoS and QoE
  • Support various types of set-top boxes, including DTT and IP STBs, with or without PVR and other optional functionality.
  • Accommodate set-top box devices that are embedded as part of an Internet Gateway Device (IGD).
  • Accommodate set-top box devices that are standalone, i.e. implemented in separate hardware devices.

The trouble management feature of TR-135 means a trained technician may take control of the set-top box remotely to do a number of tasks such as upgrading software and performing diagnostics. This will enable faults to be fixed more quickly and effectively, and negates the needs for many IPTV related truck rolls.

Improved performance management will also allow the automatic monitoring of the set-top box performance. This will enable providers to produce reports on QoS parameters, such as average bit rate, jitter and packet loss ratio; QoE parameters, including including visual quality indicator; and usage statistics, for example, how many set-top boxes are on at a certain time and for how long each of them remains tuned to a certain channel. set-top box QoS/QoE reporting capabilities will allow measurements to be done at the service level, which is of fundamental importance to any operator.

Also approved at the meeting was the update to TR-069, TR-069 Amendment 2, which arose from collaboration and input from the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) organization. The DVB Project required support for Multicast download protocols. Working closely together, TR-069 Amendment 2 was developed and now contains changes that add support for Multicast downloads, including some additional fault codes, and for autonomous file transfers, transfers that were not directly requested by the ACS. These changes define CWMP v1.1, and therefore include some new rules for guaranteeing interoperability between CWMP v1.0, v1.1 and future CWMP versions.

Together TR-135 and TR-069 Amendment 2 provide the first stage of the IPTV evolution. These reports set the bar high for quality delivery and customer experience, and give the service provider the tools needed to customize and dramatically improve their IPTV offerings, while reducing their support overhead on new IPTV implementations.

For more about these technical reports check out the following link.

This is important work because TR-069 is the fundamental technology that has been developed to provide remote monitoring, management, and support of devices on home networks, including set-top boxes.

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