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CableLabs leads this initiative for interoperable interface specifications in order to deliver real-time multimedia services over two-way cable networks.
Built on top of the industry’s DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications) cable modem infrastructure, PacketCable networks use the Internet Protocol (IP) to enable a wide range of multimedia services, such as Voice over IP (IP telephony), multimedia conferencing, interactive gaming, and general multimedia applications.
A DOCSIS network with PacketCable extensions enables cable operators to deliver data and voice traffic efficiently using a single high-speed, quality-of-service (QoS)-enabled broadband (cable) architecture.
The PacketCable effort dates back to 1997 when cable operators identified the need for a real-time multimedia architecture to support the delivery of advanced multimedia services over the DOCSIS architecture.
The original PacketCable specifications were based on the physical network characteristics of operators in the U.S. For the European market, Cable Europe Labs, maintains a separate, but equivalent effort, EuroPacketCable, based on European network implementations.
PacketCable interconnects 3 networks
- Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) Access Network
- Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
- TCP/IP Managed IP Networks
- DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) - standard for data over cable and details mostly the RF band
- Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) & Real Time Control Protocol (RTCP) required for media transfer
- PSTN Gateway Call Signaling Protocol Specification (TGCP) which is an MGCP extension for Media Gateways
- Network-Based Call Signaling Protocol Specification (NCS) which is an MGCP extension for analog residential Media Gateways - the NCS specification, which is derived from the IETF MGCP RFC 2705, details VoIP signalling.
- Basically the IETF version is a subset of the NCS version. The Packet Cable group has defined more messages and features than the IETF.
PacketCable Voice Codecs per PacketCable Codec Specifications
- ITU G.728
- ITU G.729 Annex E
- PacketCable 1.0 comprises eleven specifications and six technical reports which define the call signaling, Quality of Service (QoS), Codec, client provisioning, billing event message collection, PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) interconnection, and security interfaces necessary to implement a single-zone PacketCable solution for residential Internet Protocol (IP) voice services.
- PacketCable 1.5 contains additional capabilities that do not exist in PacketCable 1.0, and superseded previous versions (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3).
- PacketCable 1.5 comprises 21 specifications and one technical report which together define the call signaling, Quality of Service (QoS), Codec, client provisioning, billing event message collection, PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) interconnection, and security interfaces necessary to implement a single-zone or multi-zone PacketCable solution for residential Internet Protocol (IP) voice services.
- Version 2.0 introduces IMS Release 7 IP Multimedia Subsystem into the core of the architecture. Packet Cable uses a simplified IMS in some areas and enhances it in some cable-specific areas.PacketCable defined Delta specs related to the most important IMS specs from 3GPP.
VoIP services based on PacketCable architecture are being widely deployed by operators:
- Vidéotron - "VoIP services" (Canada: Quebec)
- Time Warner Cable - Digital Phone (System wide)
- Cablevision – Optimum Voice (System wide)
- Cogeco - Cogeco Home Phone (Canada)
- Comcast - Comcast Digital Voice (System-wide)
- Cox – Cox Digital Telephone (System-wide)
- Charter (St. Louis, Wisconsin)
- Bright House Networks (Florida)
- Liberty Cablevision (Puerto Rico)
- GCI (Alaska)
- Optus - SingTel Optus Pty Ltd (Australia)
- Net Serviços de Comunicação - NET Serviços de Comunicação (Brasil)
- Shaw - "Shaw Digital Phone" (Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Victoria.)
- Shentel - "Shentel Home Phone" (United States: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland.)
- "BRAGATEL" / Bragatel (Braga, Portugal)
- "TVCABO" / PT Multimedia (Portugal)
- Rogers - Rogers Home Phone (Canada wide (Major cities and towns serviceable with rogers high-speed internet are eligible, still expanding, St John's, NL to Vancouver, BC Serviceable as of July 2007))
- Bresnan Communications - Bresnan Digital Phone (System wide)
- Cable One - "CableONE.net" (System wide)
- Ziggo - "Ziggo Telefonie" (The Netherlands)
- UPC Broadband - "UPC Broadband" (Across Europe)
- Unitymedia (UPC Germany)
- KabelBW - "Clever Kabel"(Germany)
- Virgin Media Ireland (Ireland)
- ONO / Cableuropa - www.ono.es (Spain)
- Telecentro Argentina - www.telecentro.com.ar (Argentina)
- Netuno, C.A. - www.netuno.net (Venezuela)
- ClaroTV (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras)
- Amnet/TIGO (Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica)
- Cabletica (Costa Rica)
- Cablevisión Saltillo (Saltillo, Mexico)
- Multiplay Telecom/Videomar (Fortaleza, Brazil)
- Cable Bahamas (Bahamas)
- TVCable Ecuador (Ecuador)
- The United Group ("Serbia Broadband" - "Telemach Slovenia" - "Telemach Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Sat-trakt - "ST Cable Telefon" (Serbia)
- B.Net - "B.Net Telefon" (Croatia)
- PacketCable 1.5 Specifications Audio/Video Codecs - PKT-SP-CODEC1.5-I01-050128
- PacketCable 1.5 Specifications Network-Based Call Signaling Protocol - PKT-SP-NCS1.5-I01-050128 (see external link for MGCP information)
- PSTN Gateway Call Signaling Protocol Specification - PKT-SP-TGCP1.5-I01-050128 (see external link for MGCP information)
- http://www.cableeurope.eu/index.php?page=europacketcable EuroPacketCable industry website
- Riddel, Jeff. (2007). PacketCable Implementation. Cisco Press. 1061 pages. ISBN 1-58705-181-8.