The ongoing evolution of cable services from broadcast video to narrowcast digital content (both data and video) has fuelled corresponding technical innovations to solve and support operators’ operational and capital requirements. One area of particular interest is the QAM modulator. Accelerating subscriber demand for data and narrowcast video services will require a surge of new QAM deployments over the next several years, giving rise to a host of operational difficulties.
In this paper, we present the case for distributed headend architecture for HFC networks and discuss architectural and operational benefits of the Node QAM form factor, where the conversion of digital payload into QAM-RF signals is pushed from the headend to the cable TV optical node. In addition, we analyze the Node QAM in the context of the CableLabs® Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) architecture.