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A Cable Show CCAP Update

The last time I blogged about CCAP, we were checking the online anagram universe for words one could make out of “CMAP” and “CESAR,” then two competing labels for the work of converging the QAM modulators used by digital voice, video and data services in cable.

Happily for me (because the anagram selections were abysmal), it settled out as what is now “CCAP” – the Cable Converged Access Platform. Watch for it to be a pretty hot topic at next week’s Cable Show — and not just because we announced a pretty incredible new downstream line card (the DS-384) related to it. Although… ;-)

CCAP matters at this year’s Cable Show for the same reason it mattered last year: Because consumer usage of broadband is off the hook, and cable operators need to stay ahead of that very tight curve, because narrowcast services are on a path to outweigh broadcast services and because service group sizes, measured in homes per node, are shrinking, which complicates the operational work of RF combining and QAM re-assignments.

(This is one of those cases where things start and end with QAMs. We know a lot about QAMs, and how to adapt them for the future. We’ve shipped over 2 million of them, to 385 customers, in 64 countries on six continents. More on that here, and thanks, Glenn McGilray:

Keeping up with QAM expansion, and getting to CCAP, could be crazy expensive – if not carefully planned and executed. Which brings me to a sermon you’ll hear me and my colleagues offering, as many times as you’d care to hear it, starting now. It goes like this: Start phasing. Getting to a converged edge, and then to CCAP, is more than equipment upgrades. Best start training for this marathon now, rather than get to, say, 2015 — and realize you should’ve started sooner.

Start by combining video and data QAMs. Do it this year. No room on the CMTS? Think again. In Boston, we’re taking the wraps off our new high-density universal edge QAM – essentially our RF Gateway-10, which can be populated with 10 of our new DS384 line cards. Each 8-port card provides full-spectrum coverage, with 128 QAMs per port. Fully loaded, meaning an RF GW-10 populated with 10 DS-384s, you’re at 160 Gbps.

Doing so doesn’t require ripping anything out – no forklift upgrades! – and sets operators on a path that makes CCAP attainable. Just doing “phase 1” reduces rack space requirements by 35%, which will drop powering costs in a very good way.

What are the other phases? Can’t tell you here, but come see us in Boston and we’ll talk more.

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