Remote PHY: Enabling Immediate Access to Extra Bandwidth Capacity in Existing Networks (2014)

By Oleh Sniezko, Oleh-Lightcom Consulting, LLC and Rei Brockett, Dave Baran, Michael Field, Steve Hopkins, Aurora Networks

During the last several years, the increasing demand for network capacity created significant uptick in the activity directed towards analysis of the optimal methods of expanding the capacity of wireline telecommunications networks, including broadband HFC networks. Multiple papers described the reason for the increased demand, the ways to expand the network bandwidth and the ways to improve the bandwidth efficiency through deployment of the next generation PHY. This paper contributes to this discussion by describing the least disruptive method of increasing capacity of the existing networks. Specifically, network design analysis and modeling proves that the existing HFC network can support immediate increase in capacity without resorting to bandwidth expansion and without waiting for the next-generation PHY of DOCSIS® 3.11 and EPoC. Distributed Broadband Access Architecture, a.k.a. remote PHY2 improves the existing network performance from a network capable of supporting 256-QAM Reed-Solomon (R-S) signals, with or without Trellis Coded Modulation (TCM), to a network capable of supporting 500-1000 MHz of 1024-QAM signals of the same J.83 format. The paper presents design guidelines for achieving this capacity increase without having to re-construct either the “F” or the “C” portions of the HFC network. The paper takes a snapshot of the status quo of deployed CPE devices to determine the feasibility of taking advantage of this improved network performance with the existing equipment. The paper also presents a partial inventory of silicon chips that can support the transmission of 1024-QAM R-S signals with and without TCM and lists examples of CPE devices capable of the same. The paper presents test data of 1024-QAM signal delivery to validate the network analysis and modeling and to detail the design guidelines for capacity expansion. In the summary, the paper presents a set of bandwidth and capacity expansion methods for HFC networks and their ranking based on the outcomes and required effort and investment. This summary encompasses the analysis presented in the previous paper3, including a relatively straightforward expansion of the network capacity by expansion of bandwidth from 750 MHz to 1002 MHz with remote PHY.

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