A Comparison of Economic and Operational Tradeoffs for the Deployment of Broadcast, Multicast, and Unicast Infrastructures within an IP Video Environment (2012)

By Carol Ansley, Jim Allen, Tom Cloonan, ARRIS

As the Cable Industry evaluates the incorporation of IP Video as the next stage of video delivery, an important consideration is the need for analogues of the current Broadcast, Switched, and Unicast protocols within the IP Video deployments. Initially, it was assumed that the new IP Video world would look much like the current Legacy Video world, with its own architecture based on a triplet of protocols- one for Broadcasted (always-on Multicast) video, one for Switched (Multicast) Video, and one for Unicast Video.

As the industry has continued to traverse the complex learning curve, this fundamental understanding has come into question.

Arguments have been made for the elimination of Broadcast, based on the idea that a Multicast deployment would provide increased network efficiencies. An opposing viewpoint is that a small Broadcast tier coupled together with a Unicast tier might provide greater network simplicity by eliminating the need for (and complexities of) a Multicast tier. This paper will use simulations based upon subscriber behavior to explore design approaches for several possible deployment scenarios. The analysis would consider network efficiency, possible economic factors, and possible feature interactions in an effort to help guide MSO decisions as they move forward towards future IP Video deployments.

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