Choose your region and languages

Some content is only available in English

Didn't find your region or language?

Unified cable access

Solving the capacity challenge with Unified Cable Access

Nokia wins Leading Lights Award for Most Innovative Cable/Video Product

This award recognizes the company that has developed a potentially market-leading product, application or strategy that has enabled the launch, deployment or creation of innovative, profitable cable, video, TV or multimedia services during the past year. Nokia has won the award for its virtualized Distributed Access Architecture (vDAA), which has been winning business and attracting attention for its broad range of next-generation and practical capabilities.

Read the full article on the 2018 Leading Lights Winners here >

Unlock capacity and cost savings in your cable access networks!

Built on the Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of products, Nokia’s solution for Unified Cable Access creates a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), but it goes further by applying the principles of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to the cable headend. The result is a virtualized DAA (vDAA) that eliminates cable-specific equipment in the headend provides unmatched flexibility for your network architecture. The virtualized CMTS enables you to deploy a Nokia Gainspeed access node as either a remote-PHY or remote-MACPHY device to best meet your business needs.

Nokia’s virtualized DAA dramatically reduces the amount of equipment required in the headend, enabling you to cost-effectively install more capacity and extend IP/Ethernet closer to customers to improve service quality.

Comparing Nokia's unified cable access solution and a traditional CCAP solution, based on a typical head-end supporting 800 service groups:

  • 8-fold reduction in power consumption.
  • 7-fold reduction in rack space.
  • 0 transmission distance limitations.

Furthermore, the architecture provides unified access, delivering any service across any access media – fiber or coaxial cable – in a single solution with central, transparent control of everything. The result is a simplified, unified and future-proof cable access network.

The cable capacity challenge

Cable networks - like their telco network counterparts - are facing a major challenge in the form of exploding data traffic. Cable operators are being forced to invest heavily just to maintain performance levels. The hybrid fiber-coaxial network has substantial latent capacity. However, legacy video and analog/RF transmission in the access network severely limits capacity and network flexibility. Additionally, the cable-specific equipment in the head-end is expensive, occupies a lot of space and consumes a lot of power.

Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) was designed to alleviate some of these problems by integrating the physical EQAM and CMTS functions into a single device. However, that was before demand for over-the-top (OTT) and IP video exploded and legacy video stagnated. Cable operators have sufficient edge quadrature amplitude modulation (EQAM) infrastructure and don’t typically want to rip and replace it with CCAP, thus rendering CCAP a big CMTS and negating one of its main benefits. Perhaps most importantly, CCAP is only a stop-gap: the analog/RF constraints remain, and you leave power-hungry, cable-specific big iron devices in the headend. As you split your networks into smaller service groups, you are likely to face space limitations in your headends once again.

You need a solution that improves network capacity and performance while relieving the headend space and power burden; increases agility and simplifies operations while enabling new services; gives you the flexibility to adjust your architecture to your business and network needs; and leverages and unifies existing cable access networks while facilitating an elegant evolution to an all-fiber, all-IP future.

Nokia Unified Cable Access

The Nokia Unified Cable Access solution delivers all of these benefits to you. Built on the Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of products, Nokia’s Unified Cable Access solution creates a distributed access architecture, but goes further by applying the principles of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to the cable headend. The result is a virtualized DAA that distributes headend functionality to other parts of the network while preserving all legacy EQAM video assets and the existing coax connection to subscribers.

Nokia Unified Cable access solution
  • Analog (RF) transcoding, transmission and aggregation (DOCSIS PHY) are distributed to the Access Node.
  • DOCSIS processing (DOCSIS MAC) is virtualized and can be distributed to the Access Node in the neighborhood or run on a server anywhere else in the network.
  • IP/MPLS transport and subscriber management are distributed to the packet engine.
  • Legacy video infrastructure is left in place and adapted to IP by the Video Engine.

Nokia’s next-generation Unified Cable Access solution eliminates the constraint for you to choose between R-PHY and R-MACPHY approaches. Nokia’s virtual cable modem termination system (vCMTS), which includes the DOCSIS MAC, runs as an independent process anywhere in the network: on the node, or on an off-the-shelf server in the outside plant, hub, headend or data center. You can even convert a Gainspeed cable access node from R-PHY to R-MACPHY, or vice versa, with a simple software configuration.

A central Access Controller in the data center manages the whole system and ensures that the new architecture is easily deployable in your existing network environment. Within the network, the controller looks like a CCAP in the headend/hub, but seamlessly integrates with into the existing OSS/BSS. In this way, IP/Ethernet is extended all the way to the optical node, and the headend is digitized, shortening the analog/RF transmission length to only the “last mile” between the Access Node and the customer premises (in reality, often the last few hundred meters).


Built around a virtualized Distributed Access Architecture (vDAA), Nokia’s Unified Cable Access solution provides unmatched flexibility and adaptability for your cable network architecture. It is the only offering in the market that enables you to deploy the same physical node as R-PHY or R-MACPHY, and even switch from one mode to the other with a simple software configuration.

Nokia’s Unified Cable Access Solution significantly reduces the amount of equipment required in the headend, thus enabling you to install more capacity and consolidate real estate. Less physical equipment means lower costs and simplified management. Our approach also extends IP/Ethernet all the way to the access node, which improves fiber efficiency by a factor of 10. Using an SDN controller in the data center increases agility and enables faster time-to-market for new services.

  • Reduces headend footprint.
    • Frees up rack space and real-estate for capacity expansion or consolidation
    • Lowers power consumption.
  • Simplifies operations and increases agility by virtualizing functionality in a central controller.
    • Faster time to market for new services.
    • Easier capacity upgrades.
  • Eliminates analog optics.
    • Lowers costs with standard digital optics instead of cable-proprietary analog optics.
    • Longer reach allows fiber-deep deployments and consolidation of hubs.
  • Improves signal quality.
    • Fewer signal issues, customer service calls and truck-rolls.
    • Increased performance of the network, including DOCSIS 3.1 capacity.
  • Enables maximal architecture flexibility
    • Cable access nodes can be software-configured as either R-PHY or R-MACPHY.
    • Nodes can be changed between modes on the fly.
    • A single controller can concurrently manage all types of nodes.
  • Creates an all-IP network/node.
    • Extends IP all the way to the node
    • Higher capacity to the node through increased fiber efficiency
    • Ready for DOCSIS 3.1 and Full-Duplex.
  • Leverages existing video equipment.
    • Uses existing broadcast and narrowcast EQAMs.
    • Handles proprietary encryption.
    • Preserves the set top box (STB) installed base.
  • Protects investment in the "last mile" coax network.
    • Supports high-bandwidth full spectrum DOCSIS and DOCSIS 3.1.
    • Ready for Full-Duplex DOCSIS.
  • Future-proofs the network.
    • Supports all cable access networks including hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC), passive optical networking (PON) and point-to-point Ethernet.
    • Enables an elegant evolution to an all-fiber, all-IP network.


Nokia's solution for unified cable access is built on the Gainspeed portfolio of products.

  • Nokia Gainspeed Access Controller. The Access Controller, which uses SDN concepts, virtualizes the solution and manages all the components. The controller runs on a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) x86 system and interfaces into existing OSS/BSS without any modifications.
  • Nokia Gainspeed Video Engine. The Video Engine sits with the legacy video infrastructure, converts the legacy video to Ethernet and provides digital combining and distribution. The Video Engine supports both analog and digital video, as well as set top box out of band (STB OOB) signals, maintaining legacy video services as the network is migrated to IP.
  • Nokia Gainspeed Access Node SC-2D. The Access Node SC-2D provides the last mile connection from the fiber trunk to coax. The SC-2D provides RF transcoding and support for full-spectrum DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1.
  • Nokia Gainspeed Access Node SF-4X. The Access Node SF-4X provides the last mile connection for EPON-based FTTH deployments. The SF-4X supports 10 Gb/s EPON and DPoE.