Leveraging External Applications For DOCSIS 3.1 HFC Plant Optimization (2014)

By Pawel Sowinski, Cisco Systems Inc.

DOCSIS 3.1 offers a robust upgrade to the physical layer transmission methods by taking advantage of the state-of-art technologies such as OFDM and LDPC. These new techniques allow the DOCSIS networks to better utilize spectrum of HFC network, effectively pushing the efficiency towards the Shannon limits. The improvements come at a price; very complex configuration and the need for constant monitoring and probing processes which generate vast amounts of test metrics and maintenance information.

This information needs to be analyzed and acted upon by the CCAP software in order to adapt to changing network condition in a timely manners. The results are in the form of customized transmission profiles matched to groups of cable modems. However, the analysis of complex and voluminous test data on the CCAP has its limitations which we will explain in the presentation.

This paper presents a case for opening components of the CCAP OFDM phy maintenance sub-system to rely on an ecosystem of external applications and services. In particular, the paper reviews the requirements and compares options for definition of Cable Unique API for increasing the value proposition of DOCSIS. Such external APIs will offload CCAP from HFC optimization tasks and enable implementation of these functions in third party tools and applications. As result, CCAP configuration and operational complexity will be reduced. The set of compared external interface options includes an SDN controller based approach. The paper examines the relevance of such an approach to accelerate software development as well as the economic value for customers who desire to extend the CCAP functions with third party services and applications. Finally, the paper explores the need for multivendor interoperability and prospects for standardization of APIs.

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