This blog post is part of a series called “CommScope
Definitions,” in which we will explain common terms in
communications network infrastructure.
Imagine you are watching television,
and a fashion show comes on with runway models clad in aluminum foil evening
wear. That’s over the top. Your brother-in-law’s Christmas sweater? Absolutely
over the top. Now imagine you are watching television commercial-free, on a set
wirelessly connected to your router or on another wireless device. Is that over
the top? It may well be.
CLICK TO TWEET: You probably use OTT but you call it by another name. CommScope's Mark Alrutz explains in this blog.
OTT is an abbreviation for Over the
Top, and it refers to services like video that are delivered to you from the
cloud using your service provider’s network. These services are referred to as
OTT because they literally ride over the top of other services, some
competitive, offered by your network operator. A couple of well-known examples
of OTT services are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Network operators and OTT providers
are competitive on many fronts, but they also rely on each other. OTT needs the
physical network connectivity to reach subscribers, or more simply put, a
network to ride over so you can enjoy your selected entertainment. Network
providers do not need OTT, but it is bandwidth consuming content that plays a
large role in driving subscriber expectations and fuels the Internet explosion.
It is possible that without OTT, high bandwidth services we enjoy today might
not yet exist.
This doesn’t mean you should follow
your brother-in-law and wear a crazy sweater or commit the act of “putting on
the foil.” Let’s leave those “over the top” items alone.