Well, 2012 is almost over, and we can now reflect on the major events that hit our industry this year. If I had to choose the top three trends from the past 12 months, they would have to be:
1. Over-the-top (OTT) services
2. IPv6 deployments (finally!)
3. TR-069 adoption
Let's examine each of these in more detail:
At the top of the list is everything over-the-top (OTT) related, and specifically, how service providers can manage bandwidth with the growing abundance of OTT providers such as Netflix. We've seen MSOs deploy a range of solutions in the past year, including billing for overage, fair-use policies, and automatic speed downgrades for subscribers that go over data limits. I'm sure that in the near future we'll see service providers come up with even more creative ways to protect the precious bandwidth that every subscriber wants.
There has also been some controversy this year from users who have attempted to monitor their own usage and found discrepancies between their numbers and what their MSO reports. It'll be interesting to see how this scenario plays out in the next 12 months, as I predict that bandwidth management and OTT will continue to be a hot topic in 2013.
In second place is — finally — the emergence of IPv6 on the subscriber end. For those of us who have followed IPv6 since it was called IPnG in the 1990s, it's about time. Here at Incognito, we've help facilitate live IPv6 deployments for several service providers, and many customers are finalizing their approach for the near future.
The industry also seems to have settled on dual stack deployment as the most appropriate transition method from IPv4. Thanks to the leadership of Comcast and other service providers, there are now numerous resources to assist you in the move to IPv6, and the future looks bright for our networks.
In third position is TR-069. We've seen the roll out of TR-069-enabled devices across all networks, but there is still work to be done. One criticism that I frequently hear from customers is that the industry still seems a little young or immature. I could not agree more. Device manufacturers all interpret the standard slightly differently, and while they are happy to offer their own auto configuration server (ACS), which might work well with their own devices, a vendor-specific ACS often fails to provide cross-vendor support. The industry as a whole will only mature with the development of device and network-agnostic TR-069 support for service providers, and at the end of the day, what providers really want is choice.
I'm sure you have your own list of trends from the past year and I'd love to hear them. Please feel free to share so that we can compare notes. I look forward to hearing from you.
By Stephane Bourque, Founder, CEO and President at Incognito Software
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Minds + Machines