Widespread adoption of distributed access architecture (DAA) in cable networks depends upon a robust ecosystem. Simply put, there needs to be interoperability between node/shelf-based Remote PHY Devices (RPD) supplied by a multiple vendors and CCAP cores from multiple vendors, such that there can be an interoperable mix of CCAP cores and RPD equipment in cable operators’ networks.

Early on, Cisco recognized that the RPD was a new and somewhat different device than anything previous in cable.  To accelerate the development of interoperable network CCAP elements from multiple vendors, in late 2015 Cisco suggested to CableLabs® that a specification and interoperability effort be established around Remote PHY Devices.  In a bold move to support the initiative and accelerate RPD development, Cisco offered to donate all of its RPD code as open source, available to all members of the CableLabs initiative.

As part of its CableLabs 2.0 initiative, CableLabs announced in February 2016 a new major open/community source project for the cable industry. CableLabs and Cisco initiated a new collaborative project called “OpenRPD” to develop software which can be used by the industry to build a Remote PHY Device. Over the next few months, a number of vendors joined the initiative and began utilizing the Cisco-based reference code. As the OpenRPD specification evolved, Cisco and the other members of the initiative donated feature updates, code simulators and error corrections to keep up with the specification.

Fast forward two and a half years, and the results of the initiative have been stellar. A number of RPD/node vendors have established interoperability with OpenRPD-compliant CCAP cores. Some vendors have used the reference code and independently developed their own code in different programming languages to improve performance, but maintaining compatibility. Having served its purpose, the initiative is coming to a logical close.  Now it is time to celebrate the OpenRPD initiative’s success.

Ralph Brown, SVP and CTO of CableLabs, said “With more of the cable network technology  transitioning to software, we are encouraged by the growth of open source communities that speed adoption and deployment. The OpenRPD project demonstrates how the industry can work collaboratively to implement a common standard.”

One member of the OpenRPD initiative has been Teleste Corporation. “We at Teleste have been a strong advocate of the OpenRPD ecosystem initiative. A prerequisite for Distributed Access Architecture volume deployments is an open, standards-based ecosystem, and the OpenRPD community has proven that it is possible to reach multivendor interoperability using RemotePHY architecture,” commented Hanno Narjus, Senior Vice President, Network Products and Advanced Services. “The OpenRPD initiative has benefitted the whole industry in form of making a real showcase implementation of the RemotePHY interface as defined by CableLabs, acting as the benchmark implementation for the industry. Through use of the OpenRPD codebase, it has been possible for Teleste to reach robust interoperability with the Cisco CBR-8 faster and smoother. Based on this experience, we are confident in reaching interoperability with all standard-based CCAP Core implementations in the industry. ”

Today, post OpenRPD, the challenge for network operators is no longer simply installing some RPDs and tying them to a CCAP core.  Rather, it is digitizing, disaggregating, and automating the network with DAA principles in mind – a powerful deep edge and flexible software driven core tied together with a robust and scalable IP network.  In other words, the transformation of the network architecture. Cisco has a comprehensive hardware and software portfolio for network transformation and is committed to interoperability across all of our networking equipment, including routing, switching, server and CCAP platforms with other vendors’ standards based equipment, and supporting standards based, open protocols, ready to leverage automation. Visit the Cisco Cable-Tec Expo Booth #1603 this week to learn more.



John Holobinko

Director of Strategy

Access Networks