Can DOCSIS Networks Leverage SDN? (2013)

By Gerry White, ARRIS

Software Defined Networking (SDN) offers the promise of simplified network operation through centralization of functions, automation and programmable interfaces.

Although SDN is still in the early phase of its evolution and has initially focused on data center networks it is appropriate to consider whether it could provide any advantages in a DOCSIS infrastructure. This is especially relevant as operators deliver more services from a cloud environment based on virtualized data center technology.

Accordingly this paper looks at the potential advantages of moving components of the DOCSIS ecosystem to an SDN environment. In particular it takes a detailed look at the CMTS and ancillary servers to determine whether a different decomposition of functionality would enable the industry to better leverage this technology. A possible implementation of an SDN based CMTS is proposed and compared to existing implementations As part of this evaluation the DOCSIS protocol itself is considered and potential changes suggested to remove roadblocks and make it more “SDN friendly”.

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