Like most cable fans, I spent last week down in NOLA at the cable “Superbowl,” cable’s largest show of the year – Cable-Tec Expo. This year’s show theme was, “Raising the Bar on Technology Innovation,” which was so fitting because it echos the scale of solutions and technologies that Cisco is driving to help cable operators navigate the biggest industry transition in decades.
To say that there’s a buzz in the air about cable’s transformation is an understatement. There are major opportunities awaiting cable operators. Memorable show conversations revolved around 10G, 5G, Low Latency DOCSIS, DAA, the evolution of Remote PHY, IP Ethernet and a Converged Interconnect Network (CIN), and Virtualization. We know these are top of mind for our cable customers, and we’re ready to help them succeed in this new era.
10G – It’s the industry’s “north star” for the evolution of wireline broadband access, including HFC/DOCSIS, to deliver 10 Gigabit symmetrical services. And Cisco is fully committed to the vision of 10G that the cable industry has put forward.
5G – I don’t know about you, but it’s a phrase I hear within three minutes of waking up. What’s interesting about 5G in the cable space is that 5G networks will require the deployment of small cells much closer to the end-user than traditional macrocell networks. Because of their extensive reach, existing cable HFC networks are well-positioned to provide connectivity to mobile small cells for LTE and 5G networks with mobile Xhaul over DOCSIS.
Low Latency Xhaul (LLX) – A key element of 10G for cost-effective mobile deployments to handle backhaul, mid-haul and fronthaul – aka Xhaul. Cisco has been working closely with CableLabs® to drive the specs for LLX, which will enable 5G over the HFC infrastructure.
DAA – It’s necessary. It’s coming. It’s poised to lead the most significant transformation in cable history. We understand the complexities of moving from a centralized access architecture to a distributed access architecture. To help make the transition, Cisco took the best practices from customer DAA deployments and is announcing a DAA Automation Offer to help accelerate the deployment of DAA.
Remote PHY – For the ability to extend digital control and capacity deeper into your network. We have assembled a world-class Remote PHY portfolio, ranging from devices that live in fiber nodes to extremely dense shelf technology, complemented by the most stable and interoperable software stack in the industry.
CIN – Operators can plan their migration from linear services and disparate network overlays to an intelligent IP-based foundation for their Converged Interconnect Network (CIN). At the booth, we demonstrated the advantages of converging with IP over Ethernet for scalability, automation, and optimization of all services on a single network.
Virtualization – Where DAA opens an entirely new framework that will enable operators to benefit from improved service velocity, increased network flexibility, and superior services resiliency, cloud-native technologies will play a central role in enabling these benefits. The Cisco Cloud Native Broadband Router (cnBR) is unlike any in the industry. It was built from the ground up – completely new code, written for the cloud, using open source tools – to deliver headend virtualization that redefines the economics of cable network scalability. At the show, we demonstrated the benefits of cnBR, Flexible MAC architecture, and participated in the first public prototype of a Generic Access Platform (GAP) node.
At the show, we also announced how Altice USA is working with Cisco to expand the scale of its Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) service offerings using the Cisco Managed Services Accelerator (MSX) platform. This open, cloud-native, multi-tenant service creation and delivery platform allow cable operators to offer their own managed business services, like SD-WAN, SD-Branch, Meraki, and Umbrella, for differentiated services delivered from a multi-cloud multi-vendor network. You can find a full Cisco SCTE show review here.
I’m excited about what’s on the horizon for cable – and I’ll continue to say what I said before and during the show, don’t wait!