Meet the Speaker: Ralph Brown, CTO, CableLabs

RBRalph Brown is responsible for leading CableLabs’ technical staff in delivering innovative solutions to the cable industry. In this role he leads development in seven areas of technical excellence: Systems Architecture, Network Design, BSS/OSS, Client Software, Security, Strategic Assessment, and Test/Prototype Development. He also is responsible for identifying and leading in areas of convergence and synergy across CableLabs programs.

Ralph will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14 March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.

CableLabs plays an important role in developing technology and standards for the cable industry. What did the organization focus on in 2013?

From the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications to 4K/Ultra HD – the past year was full of tremendous innovation and growth for the cable industry. CableLabs was a major catalyst for change.

Completing the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications – in record time of 18 months – was a huge success. Once completed, we incorporated the Chinese-DOCSIS requirements for the first time. This enabled the achievement of a global scale for cable broadband technologies.

CableLabs brought European and Asian cable operators on board as members, increasing the number of cable subscribers represented from 80 million to more than 125 million.

CableLabs also qualified a new class of high performance optical network equipment for Cable Business Services customers as part of the CableLabs DPoE specification. The organization also helped prepare the industry for 4K Ultra HD content and continued its work to create energy efficiency in set-top boxes, across the telecommunications industry.

Lastly, CableLabs worked to develop Wi-Fi technology for cable on a number of fronts:

  • Bringing seamless roaming across cable Wi-Fi access points to cable through the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™ standards;
  • Establishing a Wireless Service Locator service for cable operators;
  • Publishing key technical papers in the wireless spectrum policy debate as part of a continuing campaign to secure additional spectrum that can be leveraged by our members.

What are the cable industry’s biggest priorities for 2014 from a technology perspective?

In 2014, CableLabs will focus on bringing our member’s innovative technologies for Wi-Fi and wireless, business services and big data, internet of things and more — in the same manner that we did for DOCSIS.

DOCSIS3.0 was a major game changer for network capability. How is DOCSIS3.1 pushing cable networks even further and how will the customer benefit?

DOCSIS 3.1 introduces new modulation technology (OFDM), which increases bandwidth efficiency by as much as a factor of two. This helps cable operators better utilize the bandwidth of their current network and continue delivering the sophisticated applications and services their customers demand.


How are the needs of cable operators evolving and how will this influence CableLabs’ future work?

Cable operators are facing even more competition, not only from traditional service providers, but also from over-the-top (OTT) providers.

CableLabs will give our members the technologies and tools needed to remain the preferred provider in all markets.

Tell us about the recent international expansion of CableLabs and the importance of ensuring alignment of industry R&D activities globally?

It’s all about scale. International cable operators are positioned to take advantage of the growing global marketplace for products and services. The greater the alignment, the bigger the impact to their businesses and the world. This also benefits vendors, because they will only have to satisfy one set of international standards vs. trying to meet the individual standards of each region.


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