AT&T Atlanta System To Strike Up BigBand

Digital broadcast delivery start-up BigBand Networks is cued to enter AT&T Broadband's Atlanta division, deploying its digital grooming and Gigabit Ethernet-powered transport and redundancy systems there.

While the Redwood City, Calif.-based company has had luck in attracting customers such as Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications Inc. to its DTV-grooming product, AT&T Broadband becomes the first cable operator to announce it will use BigBand's Gigabit Ethernet transport scheme for video-on-demand content.

BigBand has yet-to-be-disclosed deployments with other MSOs, said vice president of corporate development Seth Kenvin.

The vendor's transport redundancy system allows the MSO to cut transport costs by send video files between core headends and edge hub locations using Gigabit Ethernet technology.

'"Because the [Broadband Mulitmedia Router] has very rich media processing capabilities, one thing we can do is take in content in the standard cable interface method like DVB-ASI (digital video broadcasting-asynchronous serial interface) and convert that content to Gigabit Ethernet," Kenvin said. "When it is converted to Gigabit Ethernet, then it is transported by very cheap and standards-based transport methodologies to a hub or some edge location.

"At the other edge location, another BMR picks up that feed and reconverts it to ASI."

The BMR at the edge then cleans up the video, eliminating any jitter or errors that cropped up along the way. Using rate shaping, the BMR also can adjust the video-compression rate to fit the signal to the available bandwidth.

Moreover, if the quality of the video is poor, BigBand's transport-redundancy system taps an alternative headend for a cleaner version.

"At any hub or edge location, another capability of the BMR is to understand, 'What's the quality of the video I am receiving?' and if that video quality has broken down, for reasons of weather interference with a particular satellite downlink or a fiber cut or something like that," said Kenvin. "It will recognize that the stream is bad, that the multiplex is bad or that the entire spectrum of programming is bad and will switch to its alternative source, which is also fed by Gigabit Ethernet."