Future Proofing Access Networks Through Wireless/Wireline Convergence (2017)

By Martin J. Glapa, Hungkei (Keith) Chow, Werner Coomans, R. J. Vale & Enrique Hernandez-Valencia, Nokia, Bell Labs Consulting

Multi-Gbps wireless and wireline services are pushing fiber deployments deeper into the outside plant and setting the stage for converged access networks. On the cable front, Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) using higher modulation orders and symmetrical Full Duplex (FDX) DOCSIS® will leverage existing drop coax, but will require MSOs to upgrade their HFC access networks to an N+0 deep-fiber architecture. In the special cases of MSO MDU (multi-dwelling unit) copper access through Fiber-to-the Distribution Point (FTTdp), copper assets will be leveraged using next-generation DSL technologies such as G.fast or G.mgfast. On the wireless front, licensed and unlicensed spectrum services (i.e., 5G, LTE,MulteFire, CBRS, etc.) will require small cells located close to the end-user, and require fiber all the way to the radio headend for backhaul. These deep-fiber-based architectures will all require that fiber be brought in very close-proximity to the end-users, creating an ideal convergence point to integrate short reach distance-sensitive wireless and wireline technologies into a single converged access platform. Such a converged access platform will:

  1. Offer seamless service and content movement across any form of available access media,
  2. Provide dynamic resource shifting across multiple media access forms active at any time,
  3. Enable dynamic slicing, adaptation and coordination of network resources under the control of centralized virtual network orchestration in edge cloud/cable hub data centers,
  4. Be optimized in cost, space and power consumption, and
  5. Enable operational savings by reusing a converged infrastructure.

Technical, architectural and economic studies and insights on how MSOs can leverage their deep-fiber DAA/FDX DOCSIS networks to become leaders in deploying cost-effective future-proof converged wireline/wireless access networks and services, and become leaders in the deployment of mmWave technologies, are presented in this paper.

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