HFC Spectrum Expansion: Design and Component Impacts (2019)

By Mark Vogel, CommScope

As data demand continues to increase, cable operators are looking at ways to meet that demand by increasing the capacity of their Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks. Traditionally this has been done by pushing fiber deeper into the network, reducing amplifier cascades, reducing the number of customers in a service group and increasing modulation orders. However, the continuing development of the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and the introduction of DOCSIS® 3.1 has given operators additional methods to meet customer demands. At the top of this list is ability to support operation at extended frequencies up to 1.2 and even 1.8 GHz. There is also an effort currently underway at CableLabs® which is looking at the viability of increasing the upper frequency band to 3 GHz. Given that many of today’s HFC networks have capacities ranging from 750 MHz up to 1002 MHz, how can an operator upgrade their networks without having to do a total rebuild or move to a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network? This paper will discuss the impact of different network components and design options on the bandwidth expansion of an HFC network and present the results of a network model that applies these options to a 1002 MHz legacy plant design.

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