Analog Reclamation via IP DTA (2013)

By Ron Shanks, Sangeeta Ramakrishnan, Cisco Systems

Analog Reclamation is at the forefront of most Cable Operators minds today. In a 750MHz cable plant it is likely that half or more of the available spectrum is allocated to basic or extended analog programming.

Obviously this spectrum is attractive to reclaim in order to add additional tiers of programming. Internet bandwidth usage is also growing rapidly, with peak hour usage growing at an annual rate of 40-50%. Analog reclamation could provide operators with the spectrum needed to meet consumer demands.

Until this point one of the only options available for analog reclamation was to use a DTA, also known as a Digital Transport Adapter.

Traditional DTAs solve the analog reclamation problem by allowing an operator to move traditional analog subscribers to QAM delivered video with a very inexpensive device. Unfortunately the DTA device is limited in that there is no two-way communication capability with the network.

For the subscriber this translates into no advanced Guides, no On Demand Capability and no way to consume OTT content.

This paper will describe an alternative to the traditional DTA called the IP DTA. This alternative leverages the operator’s investment in DOCSIS 3 by using Bonded DOCSIS channels as the transport for the legacy analog tiers. The concept takes advantages of cost reductions in newer IP Set Top boxes coupled with cost reductions gained by using Downloadable Conditional Access (DCAS) for security. The paper will outline the network model and will demonstrate the ability to support the entire analog tier being carried on as few as 4 EIA channels. The paper will also highlight financial benefits and operator savings that can be realized by moving straight to IP versus going through a traditional DTA deployment.

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