The Nuts and Bolts of Broadband – evolving access architectures at SCTE Autumn Lecture

Tal Laufer, Director, Product Management, CMTS/CCAP, ARRIS

Tal Laufer, Director, Product Management, CMTS/CCAP, ARRIS

This week, I will be speaking at the SCTE UK Autumn Lecture Meeting – “The Nuts and Bolts of Broadband” – covering evolution in access architectures.

Many operators plan to attend the event and will be asking the same question: How can we evolve our network to support growing bandwidth demands, driven by the crazy number of new applications and increases in consumption of services like UHD and virtual reality?

During my presentation I will provide guidance, based on the studies and investigations the ARRIS team has undertaken, to assess the different evolution paths available for operators.

It is a common assumption that PON will be the chosen path for greenfield deployments. However, with the up-and-coming innovations in the DOCSIS domain, operators can achieve competitive service tiers, possibly at lower cost. New innovative technologies, such as DOCSIS 3.1 and Full Duplex DOCSIS will also enable high speeds to existing subscribers, who represent the vast majority of cable operators’ subscribers. For existing subscribers using the HFC network today, operators are looking for cost effective solutions to provide high-speed tiers, with minimal change to their plant, and therefore lower capex investment.

ARRIS is geared up to help cable operators find their optimal solution, which is also dependent on geographical dispersion, financial capabilities, and the traffic engineering requirements unique to their subscribers. I will outline the various solutions and architectures during my presentation “Delivering Gigabit Speed and beyond to the Home – Next Evolution in Access Architecture” on Wednesday, October 19th, at 10:30am.

Tal Laufer, Director, Product Management – CMTS/CCAP

ARRIS SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo– Photo Recap

Last week, at SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo™ the cable telecommunications engineering event of the year —ARRIS led out some of the most compelling conversations about the future, from our booth on the show floor.

We met with service provider customers, media and industry analysts to share the latest technology and strategies for delivering services like gigabit, 4K, and IoT. And our experts led discussions on hot industry topics like virtual and augmented reality, DOCSIS® 3.1, and machine learning in network operations—including a panel of top industry executives moderated by our own executive chairman, Bob Stanzione-that advanced the conversation on distributed network architectures, virtualization, and managed Wi-Fi®.

In case you weren’t able to make it, check out a few pictures from this year’s show below.

 

Cable-Tec Expo – ARRIS & SCTE Introduce ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide

171c4e4b574ab2c8a271b27f3d89876cFor busy cable technicians, it can be difficult to stay apprised of the latest information and engineering equations. After all, every day they make countless stops at homes and businesses to address a wide variety of customer needs, from problems connecting to the server and IP address issues, to slow application performance and poor cable connectivity.

To help field and cable technicians overcome this challenge, ARRIS, in partnership with the SCTE, recently launched the ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide. The app converts the pre-existing ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide, which includes a wealth of useful charts, graphs, tables, and industry-specific mathematical formulas, to an easily downloadable mobile application for iOS and Android mobile devices. The app is available in both free and premium tiers.

Technicians can easily reference valuable material in the app, including: a customizable dashboard, quick search feature, calculators, formulas and a tables toolbox.

Now available in a digital format, the app will be continually updated throughout the year as information becomes available, ensuring technicians stay up-to-date on the latest intelligence and guidelines.

During Cable-Tec Expo, ARRIS will offer the premium app – which includes the ability to compute engineering functions and equations using the calculator tool – free to all users to download* for a limited time.

For more information about the ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide please visit here.

 * US stores only.

What is the best technology to solve video compression problems?

People of ARRIS

Rich Peske, VP, Product Management, ARRIS

There has been a continued trend to push more network functions, including video compression, into datacenters and virtual cloud environments. While there are clear advantages for the virtualization of many network functions, there are also certain cases where there may be a hindering cost or performance penalty.

Video compression systems are being used for a wide range of scenarios today. Some key use cases include:

  • Different content: File-based (VOD) and Live
  • Different clients: STB, connected TV, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones
  • Different codecs: MPEG-2, AVC, HEVC, VP-9
  • Different resolutions and formats: SD, HD, 4K, HDR
  • Different sources: Encoding (baseband input) vs. Transcoding (compressed IP input)
  • Different encoding devices: Broadcast encoders, consumer cameras, professional cameras
  • Different environments: Datacenters, space or power constrained facilities

Video compression, with newer codecs such as HEVC and higher resolutions such as 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels), is very compute-intensive, particularly for live content.

To achieve reasonable power, space, cabling, and reliability requirements, hardware acceleration is often used. This can be in the form of dedicated ASICs, FPGAs, GPUs, or embedded encoding hardware inside Intel CPUs or integrated smartphone chipsets. Therefore, video compression systems often utilize one or several of these technologies to achieve the necessary performance. ARRIS is utilizing the latest ASIC compression chips in our new encoder/transcoder systems, the ME-7000 Converged Compression Platform. This platform is targeted for live encoding and transcoding applications for professional broadcast and distribution of full resolution TV programming.

The ME-7000 serves a wide range of consumer display devices, from smartphones to big-screen UHD me-7000_herodisplays. Currently, the platform  is being used worldwide by operators such as Televisa Izzi in Mexico and Eastlink in Canada.

By combining advanced hardware compression with general purpose CPU computing, the ME-7000 offers advantages in power, space, reduced cabling, and improved long-term reliability while enabling flexibility and an easy-to-use software-only compression system. For example, in the HEVC HD live encoding/transcoding use case, the ME-7000 has 10x-15x better power and space usage than CPU-based compression systems.

For applications, a file-based compression or for live content with lower resolution video or simpler codecs, pure software-based implementations can offer acceptable performance in a virtual environment.

ARRIS works with a number of partners offering software or hybrid software-hardware solutions to match the best technology with these types of use cases to best meet the needs of our customers.

Asking whether software or hardware is better for video compression is the wrong question. Rather, one should ask, “What is the best technology to solve my video compression problem.” Depending on the use case, the choice of technology can differ.

What is important, is that the technology and the use cases are aligned for the best price and performance, both for initial CAPEX and on-going OPEX. ARRIS’s approach is to dedicate time to understanding our customers’ specific circumstances, business goals, and optimize solutions that map to their situation.

Putting a Box around Wi-Fi® Performance @ Cable Tec 2016

People of ARRIS

Carol Ansley, Counsel and Senior Director at ARRIS

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” declared science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Said another way, great technology is seamless and invisible: it shouldn’t get in the way of the experience. And the same is true for Wi-Fi.

But there are myriad measures and underlying forces that must align perfectly to make Wi-Fi indistinguishable from magic and meet today’s customer demand.

This month at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016, Carol Ansley, Counsel and Senior Director at ARRIS, will discuss how service providers can readily address Wi-Fi issues using existing technology and data and talk about alternative metrics for evaluating and diagnosing Wi-Fi problems at home.

In her panel, she’ll provide answers to questions such as:

  • What do consumers define as “good” Wi-Fi performance?
  • What factors—such as environment and services—can affect Wi-Fi performance?
  • What is the impact of a customer’s choice of Wi-Fi antennae, frequencies and channel bands on display devices?

Learn more by attending the “Home Wi-Fi Optimization” panel on Thursday, September 29 from 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. The panel will be moderated by Maria Popo, President of Ubee Interactive and also include insights from David Urban, a Distinguished Engineer at Comcast.

Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

By Jonathan Ruff, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, ARRIS

By Jonathan Ruff, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, ARRIS

For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain—from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Operators are choosing from many new approaches based on the nature of their deepening fiber deployments and their desire to make more efficient use of headend facilities in addressing the increasing demand for new gigabit services.

ARRIS has a unique perspective on the aggregate decisions that these operators face, due to our pioneering work in DOCSIS 3.1 deployments and the market-leading success of our E6000 CCAP platform. Our operator customers look to us for evolutionary pathways that enable them to make full use of their HFC plant and fiber deployments, while building on their installed base of E6000s and their outside plant.

In our close collaboration with these customers on network evolution, one of the biggest challenges we see is that there is no one decision or path to choose from that is expected to reach the market in the next few years. In other words, operators will choose different approaches. As a result, many opt to support multiple approaches in their networks: HFC with Node+0 splits, Remote PHY or Remote MACPHY, Remote PHY shelf, Full Duplex DOCSIS, RFoG, Node PON, EPON and GPON, etc. And they pace the cadence of their evolution based on how their subscriber usage evolves and the availability of capital investment. Some operators plan to spend as much as $1B in each of the next few years to address the demand they are experiencing.

These are some of the most important factors that impact decision making for operators:

  • Headend Capacity – where space, power and other facility considerations constrain the ability to add more equipment, operators have two choices: seek denser more power efficient solutions or move capabilities and functionality into the outside plant. This is one of the cases for Remote PHY.
  • Economics – CAPEX and OPEX costs come into play as operators replace old equipment (nodes, amplifiers, and headend equipment) and move to support 1.2GHz and 85Mhz return expansion. Where this requires new equipment purchases and truck rolls, it creates an imperative to minimize the number of times outside plant has to be accessed while making service groups smaller to cope with the increased bandwidth demands.
  • Greenfield – with new housing developments, it makes economic sense to put in FTTH from day one, especially when replacing the coax cable to a home with fiber can cost as much as $1,000 per home passed. PON becomes the logical choice here, especially when the system can still support DPOE, the DOCSIS specification for cable modem provisioning on the headend.   Similarly, for urban Multi-dwelling units where fiber can be pulled past a high density of subscriber dwelling units, PON may be more efficient from a capacity and cost perspective.
  • Environment – depending on the socio-economics of neighborhoods, pulling the intelligent, expensive components back into the secured environments and using lower cost outside plant systems can allow operators to manage failures and loss while offering similar traffic and service level performance.
  • Timing/Availability – the range of approaches will be impacted by silicon availability, finalization of specifications, and levels of testing required to verify deployment capabilities

ARRIS offers operators an extremely flexible approach to the evolution of their networks. For example, our E6000 chassis offers software options and upgrades, new cards such as the DCAM2, UCAM2, RSM2, and EPFM (EPON Fiber Module), and a modular upgrade path for the OM6000 and NC4000 to Remote PHY. This enables operators to select their ideal architecture as they look to support multi-gigabit data services and migrate from QAM to IP Video services without having to make massive changes to their provisioning and headend systems.

In many cases (for example, DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1 support, I-CCAP to RPHY support), the transition from one stage to the next can be accomplished with simple software upgrades, permitting the operator to activate the change in a convenient, cost-effective fashion. All of these attributes of ARRIS’s solution set allow operators to make decisions as their strategy determines the optimal time for them, their subscribers, and their financials.

The E6000 can support various combined configurations of these HFC, RFoG, and Fiber capabilities— allowing operators to deploy mixed architectures such as I-CCAP and Remote PHY, or I-CCAP and EPON, for example. As deployment proposals evolve to include Full Duplex DOCSIS, Extended Spectrum DOCSIS etc., the E6000 can evolve with each new stage, thanks to its modular physical architecture and its software upgradability, allowing it take advantage of new capabilities that increase the number of subscribers served and total data traffic capacity per chassis.

It’s clear that the demand for bandwidth is only going to increase in the near future, and having a flexible platform like the ARRIS E6000 platform that can be modified wherever it makes strategic and financial sense is extremely valuable. Our solutions are also designed to expand to support future demands. Indeed, the ability to quickly support and adapt to all of tomorrow’s technology choices puts operators who have deployed and are deploying the ARRIS E6000 platform in a leadership position for the future.

« Older Entries