The goal of cloud-native CCAP (cCCAP) in a distributed access architecture (DAA) is to provide a reliable, resilient network that is more agile and scalable to cable operators’ business needs. It achieves this by enabling CCAP processing to be distributed and easily scaled across the network, replacing redundancy with software resiliency via a containerized architecture and enabling faster services velocity.
Migration to cloud-native needs to be a painless, seamless process that should be transparent to cable subscribers, even as the network undergoes major changes. To accomplish this using traditional ways of configuring and managing CCAP systems is not likely, simply because these traditional processes cannot scale.
In a traditional headend or hub, analogue fiber optic systems typically have multiple physical RF connections from service enabling sources, such as DOCSIS, broadcast video and video on demand, as well as operational systems. With DAA, those physical RF connections are morphing into “virtual” connections as the underlying architecture changes. Each service connection to the Remote PHY Device (RPD) uses a “virtual” connection carried over an IP network instead of a dedicated physical connection. Specifically, DAA calls for the use of Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, or L2TPv3, to accomplish this task. Each service (data, video, etc.) has its own “tunnel” to each RPD, plus there are many other tunnels that provide support for the heath and management of the RPD. To provide all services to subscribers connected to a single node may require hundreds of connections to the node.
As operators move to DAA architectures, they are also likely to move nodes closer to the subscriber. In an N+0 (node + 0) architecture, this may result in the network having 10x as many nodes as a non-DAA network. Simple math illustrates the nature of the challenge. Multiplying hundreds of connections per node by 10x the number of nodes leads to a very large number of tunnels that require attention. At first glance, the complexity appears overwhelming.
Of course, configuring and managing this new level of scale with traditional CLI commands is an invitation for problems. With hundreds of thousands of tunnels and multiple cloud CCAP cores, finding configuration errors and correcting them manually is simply out of the question.
Automation is the Answer
To relieve Service Providers of this configuration and management complexity requires a heavy dose of automation. Instead of multiple complex configuration steps, the process needs to be fully streamlined to enable rapid activation and simple management. Based on our long track record in IP and Cable, Cisco recognized this challenge early on. We are already leveraging our IP expertise to develop an automation and management suite for DAA and cloud-native CCAP.
We have announced and are beginning to deliver our Smart PHY and Crosswork software solutions that provide these capabilities. We are making these software engineering investments now, because we understand that the success of cloud-based CCAP and DAA is dependent on network migration being a painless, seamless process that is transparent to subscribers.
Visit our booth at ANGA COM – Hall 7, #E20 – to learn more about how Cisco is helping cable operators thrive in the new age. You can also learn more about the pillars of the Cisco Crosswork automation solution in this blog series.