A Practical Approach to Virtualizing DOCSIS 3.1 Network Functions (2017)

By David S. Early, Applied Broadband, Inc.; Paul E. Schauer, Comcast; Jason K. Schnitzer, Applied Broadband, Inc

There is broad consensus amongst the networking community that programmable network architectures(including SDN and NFV) represent the next stage of connected infrastructure evolution. Benefits for providers are many, stemming from innovative new approaches that re-factor the development and deployment of networks and services.

The service provider’s ability to rapidly and continuously develop and deploy new software and tools necessary to realize these objectives is central to the success of this model. Not only will the network see technical change with the introduction of virtualization, but the service provider’s organization will require significant changes as well.

This paper presents a structured approach to the evolution of virtualization within the service provider's practice. We establish criteria for the virtualization of network functions within the broadband access network. In doing so, we provide system considerations for the trade space between the use of centralized and distributed deployment architectures. We provide an overview of Service Provider DevOps (SPDevOps)and how it can be applied within the cable service provider environment for the continuous deployment of virtualized networks and services.

We present a practical example to illustrate key concepts, developing a simple microservice that provides an implementation of the CableLabs DOCSIS 3.1 Common Collection Framework (DCCF) software system. Use of this this DOCSIS 3.1 microservice will be shown using a container architecture within a cable operator provider’s cloud infrastructure.

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