DOCSIS 3.1 Distributed Access Platform
The Entra Distributed Access Platform is Vecima’s realization of the next generation of HFC nodes as optical transport moves away from analog RF distribution to all‑digital Ethernet. Entra is optimized to support all distributed access architectures and facilitate the delivery of existing video and data services over hybrid fiber coax (HFC), passive optical networks (PON), and direct Ethernet connections.
Entra combines the newest technology and operational improvements in an environmentally-hardened Ethernet-first Access Node. A virtualized management plane and advanced Ethernet OAM functions provides more visibility into your access network than ever before. Entra’s flexible node architecture can target any MDU setting: DOCSIS 3.1 in existing coax buildings, PON or direct Ethernet for business, PON for subscriber shedding. Entra’s numerous use cases include High Speed Internet, Deep Ethernet switching, Metro Ethernet aggregation, Hospitality/IPTV, and business services.
- New vision of the node for an Ethernet-based HFC network
- Flexible platform built around a high capacity 120 Gbps open Ethernet switch
- Supports DOCSIS, PON and Ethernet services
- Virtual Controller manages distributed elements to appear like an integrated CCAP
- Legacy digital video support including all OOB (QAM plus native 55-1 and 55-2)
- Platform allows for flexible extension and evolution:
- Brownfield coax-based MDU and residential deployment with Remote MAC-PHY
- Integration of Metro Ethernet and last mile access (DOCSIS, PON)
- Fiber-based business and residential delivery with Remote PON
The Future of HFC
Hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks were originally designed to carry broadcast analog video and have already been extensively modified in order to be able to provide high-speed data services. HFC networks are now being stressed by higher data speeds, cloud-delivered services and an explosive growth in demand for IP Video. Forecasts for internet traffic expansion indicate a trend that will outpace the capacity of HFC networks unless Multiple System Operators (MSOs) move to a new network architecture.
CCAP (Converged Cable Access Platform) was conceived as a power and space saving architecture with combined edge QAM and cable modem termination system (CMTS) functions to put cable networks on a path toward service convergence and an IP video platform. DOCSIS 3.1 also promises to extend the bandwidth limit on HFC networks. Although DOCSIS 3.1 will bring greater capacity and speed to current CCAP architecture, a much stronger solution for increasing network capacity today while incorporating cost effective flexibility for future demand is the powerful combination of DOCSIS 3.1 and distributed access architecture (DAA). Ultimately, MSOs will need to migrate their networks to distributed access in the long term in order to maintain pace with the growth in the demand for IP services.
Why DOCSIS 3.1?
DOCSIS 3.1 supports up to 50 percent more data throughput over the same spectrum, decreasing the cost per bit for data delivery by improving the efficiency of spectrum use. This enables MSOs to deliver up to 10 Gbps in the downstream and up to 1.6 Gbps in the upstream. Other DOCSIS 3.1 benefits include decreased network latency through the use of Active Queue Management and improved energy efficiency in cable modems. Finally, DOCSIS 3.1 cable hardware will be compatible with earlier DOCSIS technology, making it relatively easy for cable operators to migrate to the new specification.
DOCSIS 3.1 will make it feasible to offer IP video with up to 4K resolution and quality. Cable operators who are prepared to upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 will be able to compete more effectively with rival technologies such as FTTP. Even if cable operators don’t make any upgrades to their cable plant, DOCSIS 3.1 will bring benefits by getting more upstream capacity out of existing plant. On the other hand, if investment is made in plant upgrades, then there is an immediate return on investment. If a cable operator does a mid-split, for example, any DOCSIS 3.1 modems already deployed will be able to take immediate advantage of spectrum above the 42 MHz line for upstream data transport.
As MSOs migrate their networks to distributed access architecture (DAA), the synergy of combining DOCSIS 3.1 with DAA will provide a truly robust, future-ready network that will be able to accommodate growth in the demand for IP services.
Why Distributed Access Architecture?
Since the conception and specification of CCAP, demand for IP Video has surged and is pushing a shift from QAM to IP-delivered video. Although hub based CCAP provides many benefits in converging legacy QAM and DOCSIS infrastructure, centralized chassis implementations of the CCAP architecture will not scale to meet future demand. MSOs looking to expand capacity generally reduce their service-group sizes, often running new fiber and adding new optical nodes. A traditional CCAP architecture will still encounter capacity, space and power limitations in the headend as service group sizes are reduced.