What's on IPTV's neighbourhood?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Intel breaks record with optical CMOS device

Silicon-based photo detector beats III-V components

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Researchers from Intel Corp. have demonstrated a photo detector built in CMOS that the company claims is the highest performance optical component of its class to date. The avalanche photodetector (APD) described in a paper in the journal Nature Photonics shows the way to designs that could increase the distance or lower power and cost of optical links, Intel said.

The research effort is one of many small steps forward in silicon photonics in recent years from Intel. The company aims to commercialize some of its work in PC platforms in as little as two to three years, said Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's photonics lab who reported the advance.

Intel's APD achieved a gain-bandwidth product of 340 GHz, higher than any previous device made in any process technology. The metric is a broad measure of the component's signal amplification capability at any given speed.

"This is the first time a silicon photonics device has a better performance than a III-V device, in this case specifically indium phosphide," said Paniccia. "We started with goal of getting [in silicon] 90 percent of the performance of [more] exotic materials with an order of magnitude less cost, but we now have a silicon devoice that is better performance than anything measured in indium phosphide," he added.

APDs are primarily used today in relatively costly modules enabling optical links at 10 Gbits/second over tens of kilometers. The Intel APD could support devices with throughput up to 40 Gbits/s at an order of magnitude less cost, Intel said.

In EE Times

Abstract of the Nature Photonic paper in here, full paper in here

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ant routing and congestion control

A very interesting paper: 

Analytical and Numerical Investigation of Ant Behavior Under Crowded Conditions

Maybe we can build better routing protocols by learning from ants... :)

Status of IPv6 deployment

A nice presentation on the status of IPv6 deployment. Quite informative:

Measuring IPv6 Deployment

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Andrew Odlyzko talk

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a talk by Andrew Odlyzko. It was definitely one of the best talks I've ever been to. The title was "Internet evolution and misleading network paths".

He started by showing a very interesting graph that illustrates that research is usually out of sync with reality:
The graph shows the number of publications per year (from First Monday). As one can see, the 1990s seemed to have been the ATM research decade, while Ethernet was lagging way behind...  we know where we are now, so Andrew made his point very clear.

He continued by presenting several misleading dogmas that have impeded reform and restructuring of networks (one example: "carriers can develop new services"), and the rest of the talk focused on these dogmas. 

His main claim was that the threat to the Internet was not much traffic. On the contrary, it is little traffic.  He argues by showing results from the MINTS project in which he is involved: traffic  growth rate is slowing down, and this figure is now of 50%/60% per year, globally (but with exceptions). He made some simple calculations to show that with this growth there is no need to increase expenditure on networking: if we increase  traffic from 100 to 150, and we assume a decrease of unit cost from 100 to 67 (33% seems an acceptable number), then total cost will be the same... But, he underlined, if broadcast TV moves itself to the Internet (especially with HDTV), things will surely change. Abruptly.

He also mentioned cloud computing: "don't expect everything in the cloud soon - or ever!". He argues that there is too much information in computers, and that would take literally years to put everything from your disks to the cloud (transmission is lagging way behind). But one of my PhD supervisors, Jon, criticises this (correctly, in my point of view) in one of his blogs (a great summary of the talk, by the way): we only need to transmit the residual.

Another interesting point was the idea that volume is not value. Again, absolutely correct, and excelent arguments. Check the revenue per MB of each of these services: SMS = $1000; Cellular call = $1; Fixed call = $0.1; Residential net = $0.01; backbone traffic = $0.0001. 

He also claims, with reason, that the long haul is cheap, compared to the rest: "long haul is not where the action is".

In the past, as today, the dominant types of communications are business and social, not content, he added. And he  stressed the importance of oral communication with a superb example: "would we attend a talk if there were no slides?". Everybody's answer: "yes". And would we attend if no one was allowed to speak (including the speaker)? Everybody's answer: "no". Good point! "And why don't we have a non-disruptive (like e-mail) voice messaging service yet?"

He also pointed out that there is no point in streaming real data - we need faster than real time (Jon has mentioned this too very well in his blog mentioned above).

He finalised with predictions for the future network. I close this post with them:

1. dumb pipes
2. over provisioning ("waste that which is plentiful", George Gilder)
3. dominated by computer to computer interaction, driven by human impatience
4. horizontal layering, structural separation
5. market segmented by size of dumb pipe

Monday, 3 November 2008

Video Is Dominating Internet Traffic, Pushing Prices Up

You are watching a lot more video on the Internet, and you may start to pay your Internet provider more for it. That was one of the conclusions I walked away with after spending Friday at the annual seminar of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information at the business school of Columbia University. The theme was “The Dawning of the Ultra-Broadband Era,” and it explored the implications of Internet service that is far faster than the current offerings over phone wires, cable and wireless connections.

in NYTImes

Friday, 24 October 2008

University researchers developing cancer-fighting beer

Genetic engineering could give Joe Six Pack anti-aging and cancer-fighting benefits

October 21, 2008 (Computerworld) Have you ever picked up a cold, frosty beer on a hot summer's day and thought that it simply couldn't get any better?

Well, you may have to think again.

A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston is working to create a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. Taylor Stevenson, a member of the six-student research team and a junior at Rice, said the team is using genetic engineering to create a beer that includes resveratrol, the disease-fighting chemical that's been found in red wine.

In Computer World

Comment: Now this is clearly a good example of great research: you mix the finest ingredients, red wine and beer, and you get something approximate to the elixir of life. (Not that we needed another excuse to drink it… J)

Monday, 6 October 2008

"Making Internet routing scale with shim6"

Iljitsch van Beijnum, a PhD student at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, gave a very interesting talk last week here in the lab.  Iljitsch has contributed to the IETF Multihoming in IPv6 working group, and has already written two books: BGP: Building Reliable Networks with the Border Gateway Protocol, and Running IPv6.

The talk was about multihoming (one user using multiple ISPs - that's an easy way to put it) and Shim6, as an alternative technique to solve scalability issues in BGP related to multihoming and IPv6. 

It is a fact that the routing system will not be able to absorb millions of multihomers. The IETF has been dealing with this since 2001, and the outcome was Shim6. With Shim6 each user has one address per ISP, but all these addresses are hidden from the upper layers (these are inserted between IP and TCP/UDP, hence the name "shim"). This then allows hosts to move ongoing communications from one set of addresses to another. 

Most fundamental problems I've perceived in Shim6: 1) only works with IPv6; 2) both sender and receiver must "understand" Shim6 - if one of them doesn't understand they'll just communicate as usual.

Iljitsch also talked about his current work on multi-path TCP. A nice thing about his work is that he his trying to build mTCP  with changes only in the sender - that way the receiver is oblivious of the use of a "new" technique.

Monday, 29 September 2008

KDDI to launch 1Gbps fiber-optic service in Oct

KDDI Corp will launch a fiber-optic communications service with upload and download speeds each of up to one gigabit per second on Oct 1. The new service will target people living in single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. The traffic speeds will be the fastest in eastern Japan, up drastically from the current 100 megabits per second.

in Japan Today 

Monday, 21 July 2008

Major EU P2P research project hopes to kill traditional TV

Dutch academic Dr. Johan Pouwelse knows BitTorrent well, having spent a year of his life examining its inner workings. Now, as the scientific director of the EU-funded P2P-Next team, Pouwelse and his researchers have been entrusted with €19 million from the EU and various partners, and what they want in return is nothing less than a "4th-generation" peer-to-peer system that will one day be tasked with replacing over-the-air television broadcasts.

in ars technica

Thursday, 19 June 2008

IP traffic to 'double' every two years

The report by Cisco (link below) is short and has some interesting figures - even if you tend to disbelieve in these forecasts, there are some nice figures from 2007 (for example although p2p file sharing traffic grew its percentage decreased from 60% to 51% due to the increase in video traffic and also an increase of web-based file sharing in some regions).

Lots of work for network researchers ahead... ;)

IP traffic to 'double' every two years

Web traffic volumes will almost double every two years from 2007 to 2012, driven by video and web 2.0 applications, according to a report from Cisco Systems.. Increased use of video and social networking has created what Cisco calls 'visual networking', which is raising traffic volumes at a compound annual growth rate of 46 per cent.

Cisco's Visual Networking Index (PDF) predicts that visual networking will account for 90 per cent of the traffic coursing through the world's IP networks by 2012.

The upward trend is not only driven by consumer demand for YouTube clips and IPTV, according to the report, as business use of video conferencing will grow at 35 per cent CAGR over the same period.

Cisco reckons that traffic volumes will be measured in exabytes (one billion gigabytes) by 2012 and will reach 552 exabytes by that time.

in iTnews

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Friday, 9 May 2008

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Network Neutrality is Dead

So UK ISPs are furious with BBC's iPlayer and want the broadcasting company to fund their network's upgrade. In the meanwhile in the US Comcast is blocking BitTorrent traffic. Network neutrality ("a load of bollocks", as Virgin Media's CEO puts it) had better days...

It's getting congested out there! :)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Telco IPTV Households Now 14 Million Worldwide, says Parks Associates

The number of households worldwide using telco/IPTV services grew from 4.7 million in 2006 to exceed 14 million in 2007, according to a research whitepaper by Parks Associates. Europe leads with nearly 60 percent of telco/IPTV households worldwide. The analysts define Telco/IPTV as landline-based multichannel and on-demand video services provided by a telephone operator. Free whitepaper.

in Tekrati

Interdomain Multicast Solutions Guide

Maybe an interesting book (the best thing is that it's free):


Wednesday, 12 March 2008

France dominates European IPTV

Country has 75 per cent of IPTV subscriptions in Western Europe

The latest World Broadband Information Service from Informa Telecoms & Media noted that France has nearly 10 times as many IPTV subscriptions as second-placed Spain and close to 75 per cent of the Western Europe total.

in vnunet.com

Thursday, 31 January 2008


NOSSDAV 2007 has some rather interesting papers on IPTV, so it is worth to check the conference's website.

Internship in Telefonica R&D, Barcelona

I have been a little quiet for some time because I am now in Telefonica Research Labs in Barcelona, so I've been quite busy moving, finding a place, etc. I am here for a 3 or 6 month internship as part of my PhD. I am working on "user profiling for IPTV". I have lots (hundreds of GB!) of interesting data from Imagenio (Telefonica's IPTV service) - switching logs, EPG (Electronic Program Guide) information - to analyse.

This data is very useful for user profiling and recommendation systems (to be used for targeted advertisement, for instance), and I am sure will also be useful for my PhD research, as input to my simulations.

About me

e-mail: fvramos at gmail dot com