ARRIS Talks CCAP Migration @ Customer Leadership Forum

CCAP or Converged Cable Access Platform is paving the way for the industry’s migration towards a common video and data delivery platform.

CCAP is a hot topic at this week’s Customer Leadership Forum (CLF) for the Caribbean and Latin American(CALA) region. Mauricio Janisset, Staff Solutions Architect, mentioned in his talks this week that while CCAP defines a particular architecture, there are numerous ways to reach that converged endpoint.

The question remains: how will the industry implement CCAP?

The answer, of course, is multifaceted, but it’s important to understand that the CCAP initiative addresses a common and urgent need to enable more narrowcast QAM channels in a more dense and power-efficient footprint. Service providers with several CMTS and Edge QAM architectures rely on a range of technology suppliers and various service delivery goals—and their approaches to CCAP will vary accordingly. But while CCAP is a technology and an architecture, it is also an evolution…

Picking the right evolutionary path is critical not only for reaching the right destination, but also for ensuring that the journey matches your infrastructure, capabilities, and business requirements.

This has been the subject of many discussions in the context of CALA, this week, but for a more detailed look at CCAP considerations, check out this white paper from Tom Cloonan – our CTO, Network Solutions – and Todd Kessler – our VP Product Line Management.

ARRIS @ Japan Cable Tech Show 2014

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This week we’ve been at the Cable Tech Show in Tokyo, Japan which attracted 9,500 attendees over two days at the Tokyo International Forum.

With 28 million households in Japan (that’s 50% of households overall) with a cable TV connection, served by 350 operators, the Japan cable market is one of the most exciting globally.

Our booth was buzzing for the two day event, with much interest in the ARRIS access technology portfolio and Cable WiFi solutions, as well as the globally successful ARRIS E6000™ Converged Edge Router with DOCSIS 3.1 demonstration.  We also announced an exciting deal with Izukyu Cable who will be the first operator in Japan to deploy a converged edge router with the ARRIS E6000.

ARRIS experts Kaz Tomomatsu, Ray Bontempi, and Rich Peske all took part in the technical seminar program, sharing views on DOCSIS 3.1, access technologies and video processing respectively.

Check out some of the photos from our booth!

CCAP and DOSCIS 3.1 Migration @ SCTE Canadian Summit 2014

SCTE_CS2014_WebinarSeries_Logo_VertThe industry’s impending migration to CCAP and DOCSIS 3.1 is atop the list of challenges for most operators.

Our Senior Director of CMTS Product Marketing, Jeff Walker, recently reviewed strategies for operators to ensure they are optimizing DOCSIS 3.0 today, and discussed preparedness for tomorrow’s 3.1 migration.

This week, John Ulm, Engineering Fellow of Broadband Systems and a member of the CTO-Network Solution team, will shed light on these points and more at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Canadian Summit 2014 Webinar Series.

Specifically, John will outline migration paths to full CCAP functionality and  discuss current bandwidth capacity trends to see when HFC might run out of gas. John explains the taxonomy around today’s key cable network architecture discussions: Integrated vs. Distributed Systems and Analog vs. Digital Optics. A detailed analysis is given of the limits of Integrated CCAP + analog optic Head Ends; followed by a discussion of distributed architectures such as Remote PHY and Remote CCAP with their relative benefits.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 24th at 2 p.m. EST. This exciting discussion is surely one you will want to attend. Register here ASAP.

LIWEST selects ARRIS E6000™ for Better Broadband

We just announced that LIWEST will be using our E6000™ Converged Edge Router (CER) to enable future high-speed broadband services of up to 1Gbps to its subscribers in Austria.

The deployment makes LIWEST the latest operator in a growing group of global leaders that have selected ARRIS and the E6000 to future-proof content delivery. Research firm Infonetics recently named ARRIS the leader in this industry-wide shift to the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), citing the sector’s 177% revenue growth and ARRIS’s global lead in the first quarter of 2014.

LIWEST will use the E6000 CER in tandem with our TG682 cable modem/gateway, which is already widely deployed to its subscriber base. This IP infrastructure allows LIWEST to achieve smarter, more efficient networks that can scale to tomorrow’s super-fast broadband speeds and the demands of new, advanced services.

ARRIS Speakers Demonstrate Technical Thought leadership at ANGA

Walking the floor at ANGA, you don’t see any programmers: this conference is all about the technology. This year, four ARRIS speakers drove that conversation on a variety of subjects, from CCAP to Wi-Fi…

Engineering Fellow John Ulm led off, joining a heavyweight panel, including Jorge Salinger of Comcast, in a wide-ranging examination of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) spec and upcoming potential offshoots from the original spec. Introduced by moderator Daniel Howard, CTO of the SCTE, as ‘the father of the DOCSIS MAC protocol’, Ulm laid out the current state of CCAP and then progressed to the pros and cons of its potential offspring: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP. Service providers will have several options to ensure the continued reliability and increased capacity of their networks, options which are dependent on deployment timing, headend space and powering constraints, new generations of silicon, and individual network architectures.

On Day Two, ARRIS CTO of CPE Charles Cheevers addressed the increasingly critical subject of Wi-Fi optimization. Consumers continue to experience a gap between advertised speeds and the actual experience, especially within the home. There, issues of building construction, user overlap (especially within MDUs), and contention between a competing and constantly increasing number of devices are impacting real-world results.

Cheevers proposed the concept of deterministic Wi-Fi delivery, prioritizing usage and implementing a remote resource management system to create a self-organized network within the home Wi-Fi domain to improve the customer experience.  Finally, he previewed the anticipated 802.11 AX, a next-generation Wi-Fi spec that seeks to deliver a 4X improvement in efficiency. It will be a welcome release, coming in at a time when 4k television will be widely-adopted, requiring bitrates between 15Mbs-30Mbs, and 8k will be waiting in the wings, with bitrate needs from 30Mbs-60Mbs.

Cornel speaking

 

Day Three featured Cornel Ciocirlan, ARRIS Regional Chief Technologist, speaking on the Conference’s Connected Home Summit. Panelists discussed global device proliferation (8-10 per user in Western Europe), smart/connected home technology, security concerns, and the need to educate consumers on the cost-value equation.

By 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet, necessitating a commensurate network infrastructure.  Ciocirlan pointed out that the “killer app” driving broadband growth currently is video content consumption, and that the industry needs to develop a killer app for the connected life: machine-to-machine interaction will not drive broadband growth.  As service providers become software companies, they will need to better understand how the Internet of Things will affect the consumer.

Rounding out Day Three, ARRIS Sr. Director of Marketing, Duncan Potter, presented a paper on Dynamic ABR Format Repackaging to optimize network infrastructure. With the increasing number of devices able to consume video expected to reach 7 Billion by 2017, the impact of multiscreen on operator video infrastructure costs has far outstripped the ability of caching to reduce the cost of that video distribution.  Potter referenced a case study conducted with a major US service provider to mitigate the costs of storage, packaging, and backhaul by using dynamic repackaging from a single format such as Apple HLS to whatever the client requires, at various points in the network.

Some food for thought as we close out ANGA. Check back for more from Canitec and beyond.

Answers to Key DOCSIS 3.1 Migration Questions

Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker-Sr. Director, CMTS Product Marketing, ARRIS

With more headlines and data pointing to consumers’ increasing desire for TV Anywhere, multiscreen services, OTT and IP video, we know it’s crucial for service providers to look for ways to further optimize their network.

More providers than ever are transitioning to higher-speed, wideband DOCSIS 3.0 technology. In fact, DOCSIS 3.0 device shipments are expected to comprise nearly 90 percent of worldwide cable CPE shipments in 2014. And the good news is that by taking full advantage of DOCSIS 3.0, service providers not only optimize the performance of their networks, but also prepare those networks for a smooth migration to DOCSIS 3.1.

So where exactly are we in regards to the DOCSIS 3.1 migration? How do cable providers get there? And perhaps the question on most everyone’s mind…is it possible to ensure a smooth migration path? Thankfully, the short answer to the last question is “yes.”  But let’s address these questions in greater detail – as well as some additional key points related to DOCSIS 3.1.

First, what exactly will DOCSIS 3.1 do for cable providers? Under appropriate conditions, DOCSIS 3.1 will enable providers to achieve up to a 50 percent increase in data throughput in the same spectrum supporting speeds up to 10 Gbps in the downstream and 1+ Gbps in the upstream.

DOCSIS 3.1 enables expanded speeds through the use of OFDM, which uses multiple sub-carriers in channels up to 192 MHz in width, and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) forward error correction, which is more efficient than the Reed-Solomon FEC codes used in early DOCSIS versions. The combination of OFDM and LDPC allows providers to use higher modulation orders – 1024, 2048 and 4096 QAM – and enable maximum throughput across various HFC plant conditions.

So where do we stand in the DOCSIS 3.1 migration timeline? DOCSIS 3.1 specifications were released in October 2013, and many vendors are currently developing compatible products. DOCSIS 3.1 enables providers to provide compelling service offerings in a dynamic, competitive marketplace. They can meet the growing demand for managed and OTT IP video services as well as data and traditional video services, such as VOD and nDVR.

The expectation is DOCSIS 3.1 testing will begin later this year and into 2015. Deployments will more than likely begin in late 2015 and early 2016. But it’s crucial for providers making significant investments in their deployed DOCSIS 3.0 CCAP technology to offer software upgrades to key aspects of DOCSIS 3.1. This will enable them to offer enhanced downstream speeds beyond what is possible with the bonding of multiple 6 or 8 MHz channels.

Maybe by now you’re wondering how one might approach this migration path? Thankfully, the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 can be a multi-phased approach making it easier to adapt to the change.

It’s good to know from the start that the migration can be done separately on the downstream and upstream channels. This allows for quicker expansion on the congested downstream channels using some of the DOCSIS 3.1 features. From there, upstream support can be implemented later when additional upstream bandwidth is necessary.

Additionally, providers can start using DOCSIS 3.1 on their existing spectrum in 96MHz or 192MHz blocks and then later adapt their plant and expand to use the higher downstream frequencies up to 1.2 GHz or 1.7 GHz defined in the standards. This approach can make use of “holes” in existing spectrum, and support the gradual insertion of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems into their systems.

One of the operating modes that can aid in the migration to DOCSIS 3.1 is enabled by turning off a block of OFDM sub-carriers in the OFDM channel and operating a single-carrier QAM channel within that spectrum.  DOCSIS 3.1 modems and DOCSIS 3.0 modems will be able to operate in the same serving group with the DOCSIS 3.1 modems using both the OFDM and SC-QAM channels and DOCSIS 3.0 modems operating in single-carrier QAM channels.

Finally, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration is made easier and more cost-effective if the same CCAP line cards being used for DOCSIS 3.0 services can be upgraded to support 3.1 via a software upgrade. This saves the provider from an expensive line card replacement. It is also important to have a CCAP with the necessary capacity in the switch fabric, mid-plane, power and cooling. Ultimately, the overall system should scale to beyond 1 Terabit/s of throughput with the appropriate QoS control, traffic managers and network-side interfaces.

In summary, the DOCSIS 3.1 migration aims to be fairly straightforward because of both backward compatibility with DOCSIS 3.0 modems and gateways AND the ability to preserve today’s CCAP investments. Testing of compatible cable modems and gateways will commence later this year followed by upgrades to deployed CCAP systems. All of these initiatives strengthen the cable providers’ position to optimize the performance of their systems to support the growing demand for IP video, data and traditional video services.

We’re not too far away, and I’m looking forward to sharing more updates as we continue down the path to DOCSIS 3.1.

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