Cable access networks are on the cusp of a major transformation driven by an insatiable consumer appetite for multimedia and Over the Top (OTT) content, social media, learning and communication. This hunger is enabled by the digitization of everything and the automation of the world around us, both of which are enhancing human experiences and forever changing our lives. Satisfying this appetite cost-effectively requires a foundational transformation in cable access network architecture to provide the capacity and performance needed to satisfy these enhanced human experiences and needs.
The use of Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) will transform cable networks to a degree that has not been seen since the late 1980s and early 1990s when fiber began to play a prominent role in Hybrid-Fiber Coax (HFC) networks. Today’s asymmetrical multi-Mbps capacity HFC networks will shift over time to a hyper-scaled symmetrical multi-Gbps capacity HFC network. DAA will deliver these speeds with space and energy savings when compared to today’s network architectures.
However, this shift will impact cable edge facility space requirements, and edge facility and Outside Plant (OSP) energy requirements. This paper presents an analysis of an exemplary edge facility and its associated OSP. It compares the space utilization and energy consumption of three DAA architectures to the conventional I-CCAP (Integrated-Converged Cable Access Platform) architecture. We demonstrate that when migrating from n+6 to n+3, a virtualized Cable Modem Termination System (vCMTS) Remote MACPHY Device (RMD) based architecture provides the greatest savings in edge facility space (66%)and energy consumption (86%) over I-CCAP. Migrating to DAA increases OSP energy needs in all architectures, however, there is a variance of just 5% among the DAA alternatives at n+3.