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Ellacoya Upgrades IP OS

Ellacoya Networks hopes to build on its 30-plus U.S. cable deployments with its new Genios software, geared to help operators offer add-on cable-modem services.

The new operating system is designed for the "application aware network," said Ellacoya director of MSO solutions Jason Presement.

"The old product had functionality and wasn't put together in a cohesive fashion," he said. "The new software is present in every element of our network."

A number of undisclosed cable MSOs are using Ellacoya's Internet protocol service-control software to manage data traffic, he said. One of Genios's chief functions is to handle the amount of peer-to-peer traffic that flows out of a cable system.

About 60% of the data traffic flowing out of a cable system today is peer-to-peer generated, Presement said, which means that a PC user somewhere outside the cable system wants to download a piece of content and is directed to a modem user within that operator's network.

Ellacoya's hardware and software sits right behind the cable modem termination system, allowing operators to basically bounce the peer-to-peer request back out to the Internet, without ever using up any downstream or upstream bandwidth.

Reducing such congestion also helps operators defer the splitting of nodes, allowing more room for new modem subscribers to come online.

Operators now want to move past that intelligent bandwidth recovery application to the strategy of, "What do I do to survive and thrive?" Presement said. They're asking such questions as, "How do they reduce churn and how do they attract new subscribers?" he added.

Among the most-cited applications are gaming, packages of streaming media content and legitimate music-downloading services.

The result, Presement said, is the need for software to handle individual application quality of service — a consumer subscribes to a gaming tier with 3 megabit access, for instance — that can be mapped to individual subscribers. "And it has to be scalable to support subscriber growth," Presement said.

To address those demands, Ellacoya built the Genios application aware network architecture. "We can handle subscriber identification through different methods, and assign and enforce dynamic user profiles and policies," he said. A subscriber who wants to pay more for an immediate download of a movie from Movielink can be guaranteed that bandwidth, for example.

Genios software will link together back-end cable office functions. For instance, a subscriber may call a CSR to order a $5.95 cable modem-based gaming service. That subscriber could also go online to order the same service.

The customer-service representative or end user would use the same back-end ordering and billing process to order through the same Web-based database, Presentment said.

"We'll have a cohesive integration into the workflow-management system," he said.

Features of Genios include multiple network user-authentication methods, usage accounting and policy enforcement, Presement said. For instance, Genios will be able to accurately measure and report on application usage by subscriber or by application.

Presement also emphasizes that Genios is carrier-grade0 and able to support close to 100,000 IP addresses.

"Operators are looking at incremental IP services that will add value to their subscriber experience," he said, which will require advanced IP software to handle those new business burdens.