A Common Remote PHY Software Stack for all RPDs? (2021)

By Michael Robinson & Jorge Salinger, Comcast Cable Communications

We have all heard the term “Software Fragmentation”, especially in the context of mobile device applications. Software fragmentation occurs because of the variety of hardware and software platforms. As a consequence, applications may not be compatible with that new hardware, forcing the need for application changes or the need for another application altogether.

The above also happens with Remote PHY Devices (RPDs). A single cable MSO will typically deploy RPDs from multiple suppliers, each with a different application software, and even multiple RPDs from the same supplier that have different hardware components and require different application software. Although RPD software design is based on common specifications, the behavior of the software differs between RPDs implemented with different hardware components and/or by different suppliers. As these differences accumulate, managing the system and maintaining interoperability becomes more complex.

How can this be mitigated?

A common software base can be shared between RPDs, even when they come from different suppliers. This paper will explain how sharing a common software base is implemented, and how it is applied to the RPD platform and supplier ecosystem.

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