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Broadband Forum to improve IPTV performance with new spec

The new version of BroadbandSuite will help operators ensure the quality and stability of DSL lines

Broadband Forum has released BroadbandSuite 4.1, a set of specifications that aim to improve the performance of IPTV and DSL, the industry organization said on Tuesday.

The latest version of the BroadbandSuite -- which can be used by operators when they design, test and manage their networks -- looks beyond just getting the speed and the connection that users need, to the actual application quality they experience, according to Laurie Gonzalez, marketing director at the Broadband Forum.

For example, the suite includes a document called IPTV Performance Monitoring, or TR-160. It consists of a set of best practices to help operators ensure that TV services distributed over any type of broadband network run smoothly, mainly by keeping a close eye on throughput, packet loss, jitter and delay, according to the Forum.

The Broadband Forum used to be called the DSL Forum, and part of the work it does is still focused on broadband access via copper, and with good reason. Over 60 percent of the world's broadband subscribers use DSL for their connection, according to Gonzalez.

Part of the new BroadbandSuite is the DSL Quality Suite, or TR-188, which includes documents on how to ensure the quality and stability of DSL lines, according to the Broadband Forum.

Thanks to technologies such as ADSL2+, copper networks have managed to remain relevant. Today, there are also new techniques to increase the speeds possible over copper-based access networks even further, including bonding and vectoring, which will allow operators to milk their networks further, Gonzalez said.

The Broadband Forum is working on a vectoring white paper, to help educate the industry on what the technology can offer. The document has been written, but has to go through the organization's approval process.

Going forward, fiber networks and integration between mobile and fixed networks will also take up a lot of the Forum's resources. Anywhere that mobile networks touch fixed networks, specifications need to be developed, according to Gonzalez. To make that happen, the Forum is working with 3GPP, which developed standards for mobile networks.

For fiber networks, it is cooperating with the Full Service Access Network (FSAN) organization, which also works to push standardization of broadband networks, to develop a new test suite for GPON (Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks), a technology used to lower the cost of building fiber access.

"The whole goal is to keep the industry aligned and moving forward quickly," said Gonzalez.

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