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Perspectives about customer M/A/C in triple play environments


I think it?s fair to say that most broadband/FTTx customers don?t have to think very much or need to have a very high degree of understanding if they want to move their wired Internet device from one room or another in their house.  

Maybe to keep things simple, let?s assume that we?re talking about a relatively modern MDU unit where a customer has some sort of provider CPE in their in-suite telecom demark closet/box/what have you with some number of switched 'LAN? ports on it, and each of those LAN ports would be wired to a wall jack somewhere.  Mr. or Ms. User can move their Internet device anywhere there is a wall jack and Bob?s your uncle.

My question is around how this landscape changes in triple play environments.  As I understand it, most triple play deployments separate (in some cases VoIP,) TV and Internet traffic onto VLANs (Internet would be presented to the customer untagged).  The CPE would then allow the ISP to switch the video traffic onto a coax port, or maybe onto the CPE?s embedded switch, or maybe both.  For the sake of argument, let?s assume the provider is supplying an Ethernet based set-top-box, so customer should be able to connect the STB to any wall jack and it should just work.  And they should be able to connect their provider supplied ATA to any wall jack, and it should just work.  And they should be able to connect their Internet device to any wall jack and it should just work.

Or should it?

Are most CPEs that are provided by ISPs sophisticated enough to be able to put all service tags on all ports, and have those same ports act as untagged LAN ports as well?  If not, how do providers deal with this?  Do they dedicate one port for an IPTV STB?  One port for an ATA (assuming no built-in POTS on the CPE)?  And the rest of the ports for untagged Internet?  What if the customer has 2+ TVs?  Do they need to call in and have the provider remote in and provision another port for TV at the expense of some other service that might be running on that port already?  Do they need to install a switch that does IGMP snooping?

I feel like this all has the potential to become very complicated for the customer, and maybe the provider and their installers.  To me, the customer should continue to be dumb and unassuming.  They should be able to put whatever they want wherever they want and have it just work.  Is that how things actually are in the real world or are customers and providers making silent sacrifices for the sake of all this new fangled technology?