Network convergence has been defined as “The efficient coexistence of telephone, video and data communication within a single network. The use of multiple communication modes on a single network offers convenience and flexibility that are not possible with separate infrastructures.” By that definition the CATV (Community Antenna Television)/Broadband industry has been a“Converged Network” in and of itself since the deployment of high speed data DOCSIS (Data over Cable System Interface Specification) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems over ten years ago.
Although only implied in the statement above, it is the integration of wireless services in a “converged network”, of which the industry has also embraced in the way of millions of single dwelling unit and mobility Wi-Fi hotspots. Now the industry is also embracing the concept of “cellular” mobility on the same network, either through support of 4G/LTE densification or the implementation of 5G.
In all the current definitions of a converged network one feature is rarely mentioned but is of paramount importance …. the power required to run the network components. In particular, far-edge Access Point (AP) devices require power to operate. This is where the HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) architecture deployed by the industry shines. Where other industries have shed the cost of network powering infrastructure for short term gains and reduced OPEX (operations expense), the MSO (Multiple System Operator) industry has maintained network powering to activate signal amplifiers for the coax portion of the HFC network.
Power is required every 50-500 meters for the mass deployment of LTE densification and 5G mobility and only HFC networks have the network powering budget required to meet these needs.