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Unified cable access

Unlock capacity and cost savings in your cable access networks!

Solving the capacity challenge with unified cable access

Built on the Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of products, Nokia's solution for unified cable access creates a distributed access architecture, but it goes further by applying the principles of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to the cable head-end. The result is a virtualized Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP).

Virtualizing the CCAP dramatically reduces the amount of equipment required in the head-end, 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 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 head-end. As you split your networks into smaller service groups, you are likely to face space limitations in your head-ends once again.

You need a solution that improves network capacity and performance while relieving the head-end space and power burden; increases agility and simplifies operations while enabling new services; 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 solution for unified cable access 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 head-end. The result is a virtualized CCAP that distributes head-end functionality to other parts of the network while preserving all legacy EQAM video assets and the existing coax connection to subscribers.

     
Fig. Nokia unified cable access solution
  • DOCSIS processing is distributed to the Access Node in the neighborhood
  • Analog (RF) transcoding, transmission and aggregation are distributed to the Access Node.
  • IP/MPLS transport and subscriber management are distributed to the edge router.
  • Legacy video infrastructure is left in place and adapted to IP by the Video Engine.

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 head-end/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 head-end 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).

Furthermore, the architecture provides unified access, delivering any service across any access media in a single solution with central, transparent control of everything.

Built around a virtual CCAP, Nokia's solution for unified cable access significantly reduces the amount of equipment required in the head-end, 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 head-end 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.
  • 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 provides the last mile connection over coax or fiber. The SC-2D supports coax access, providing RF transcoding and full-spectrum DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1.


from @Nokianetworks


Nokia is the world leader in fixed access technologies. We have 20+ years of broadband experience, and our equipment powers some of the most advanced fiber networks in the world. Our solutions align with the major challenges facing cable networks today and allow cable operators to evolve services to leverage the cloud-enabled broadband networks of tomorrow. Our field proven and award-winning solutions serve hundreds of cable and telecom operators around the world