Distributed Digital HFC Architecture Expands Bi-Directional Capacity (2013)

By Oleh Sniezko, Doug Combs, Rei Brockett, Aurora Networks, Inc.

This past year has brought about a re-kindling of interest in the concept of moving the boundary between digital content (both data and video) and the RF domain away from the headend and further into the HFC network, out to the fiber optic node. While few dispute certain operation benefits, such as the ability to change QAM allocations more easily, or the ease of "set and forget" installations, there is still a great deal of debate around what functions should be moved, in what order, and in what combinations. This paper attempts to clarify some of the tradeoff decisions by presenting a careful analysis of the performance profiles of today’s analog forward and reverse optical links, and contrasts them with the gains enabled by transitioning to digital links. This paper also quantifies the benefits, using digital re-designs of actual N+5 and N+0 HFC systems.

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