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Access Network Evolution Framework

HFC, DAA and PON evolution with the Access Network Evolution Framework

Evolving today's cable networks

The growth of high speed data, OTT video services and 4k or 8k video services, when combined with today's Digital TV services, require changes that are influencing the way we look at the network today. At its current growth rate, internet services will consume the entire capacity of today's HFC networks in a few short years. Faced with rising bandwidth requirements and increased competition, Service Providers need to evolve their access networks. But before they can begin, there are many things to consider.

Operational plant considerations

Before investing in any network upgrade projects or evolution, Service Providers will need to consider not only current and projected traffic within each Service Group, but also key operational plant elements, like:

  • Head-end space/power
    Supporting growth in number of Service Groups given current space and power constraints in their head-ends.
  • Fiber utilization
    Supporting more wavelengths on a fiber by moving to digital optics? For example, 40-80 for digital optics vs. 16-32 for analog optics.
  • End-of-line signal quality
    Improving plant robustness and bandwidth capacity (better spectral density) using node-based RF generation.
  • Facility consolidation/FTTx alignment
    Reducing the number of headends with longer fiber runs with digital optics. Planning for both DOCSIS® growth and FTTx plant migration.
  • Set-and-forget operational simplification
    Simplifying operational maintenance with digital optics instead of analog optics.

Access Network Evolution Framework - HFC Network Capacity Evolution           
Increased household penetration and 40-50% CAGR in broadband traffic will impact the ability of today's HFC networks to support growth over next 10 years. Even with network upgrades, the model predicts there will be little to no room for QAM video on the network at the end of the forecast period.

Delivering bandwidth for today and tomorrow

In order to facilitate the shift to IP Video, Service Providers will have to efficiently achieve large scale migration of QAM-based distribution technologies, to IP-based distribution technologies. By standardizing on IP, not only can Service Providers simplify their infrastructures, they can also take advantage of the lower costs offered by web-based video services and CDNs as part of their video backbone distribution – all while meeting consumer demand for enhanced, multi-screen video.

The shift to IP Video also yields more flexibility when managing capacity for broadband data and gives Service Providers the ability to implement enhanced features like targeted advertising and blackout insertion, and encryption/digital rights management (DRM).

Simultaneously, the network needs to evolve in such a way that users of current platforms aren't left behind and continue to benefit from the introduction of new services. This means investment in IP solutions that can support existing QAM set-tops, while virtualizing the QAM infrastructure and enabling a smooth transition to an all-IP world.

The path to network evolution is not always clear

Service Providers have several technology choices for adding capacity and flexibility as they evolve their networks. The bandwidth in an HFC-based infrastructure can be increased to 1.2GHz from typical 860MHz, providing 26-50 more QAM channels, all of which could be applied to DOCSIS® 3.1 data. However, headend physical capacity constraints, older nodes and poor signaling performance reduce available capacity and limit the ability to expand. Upgrading the access infrastructure, distributing functionality further into the network and pushing fiber closer to the home can overcome these issues, but at extra cost.

Aside from the operational challenges, competitive threats from fiber Service Providers and multi-gigabit symmetrical services compound the decision-making process. Despite the pressures to move to an EPON or GPON-based approach, short term ROI is not immediately clear when considering the cost of switching coax connections to all homes to fiber, new PON and IP CPE devices in the home and the infrastructure changes when moving to IP video.

Service Providers need the ability to make analytics-based decisions which minimize OPEX and CAPEX costs over time while ensuring subscribers receive the quality video and data services they want. The planning and modelling capabilities in the ARRIS Access Network Evolution Framework provide these answers.

It’s a matrix-based decision

Service Providers face multiple potential decision paths to standardize on IP. It is no longer a decision tree approach where Service Providers can select one primary architecture to be completed all at once for 85 to 95% of the system. These parameters will be different, in different regions of their network, and the evolutionary path will vary depending on the needs and nature of the systems being installed.

While network evolution options have capital and operational cost implications, new technology deployments can be done in stages to keep up-front investments manageable. That way, Service Providers can strike a balance between meeting subscriber demand while optimizing ROI and resource availability.

Access Network Evolution Framework - Network evolution options

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The ARRIS Access Network Evolution Framework

ARRIS offers comprehensive platforms, that are designed to support Service Providers' evolution plans for years to come. Built around a unified framework, our video delivery, broadband data and access infrastructure platforms allow Service Providers to start with common core elements and enhance their service lineups to meet changing customer requirements. These innovative platforms are supported by a world-class services organization and complemented by feature-rich modelling, planning, operations, consulting services and intelligent management and automation systems that help Service Providers unlock continuous value from their delivery access network.

As technologies and provider networks become increasingly software-defined, ARRIS access products can evolve to support and accelerate these environments. Our products fit well within data center models that deliver services as virtualized containers and are managed under a Dev Ops model for maximum service delivery velocity.

ARRIS Access Network Evolution Framework

Video core

The ARRIS video core platform gives Service Providers all the flexibility they need to support advanced entertainment services that are built to evolve. That's why our QAM and IP-based video core offerings support linear video, VOD or nDVR services that are delivered through HFC, Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) or PON. By virtualizing video delivery functions, ARRIS is developing a software defined video delivery platform for legacy and next-generation video services to optimize the Service Providers network evolution decisions.

Data core

ARRIS helps Service Providers evolve with architectural choice, superior Service Group density and data throughput. The E6000® Converged Edge Router (CER) can be deployed in centralized CCAP configurations for HFC and RFoG networks, distributed CCAP with Distributed Access Architecture networks for Remote PHY and Remote MAC-PHY, or as an OLT in an EPON environment. With the latest generation of interface modules and available software upgrades, the E6000 CER platform can increase Service Group density by more than a 3-fold.  And as data center capabilities evolve, the E6000 CER does too. The hardened software functionality inherent in the E6000 CER is being migrated to ‘containers’ in a virtualized CCAP Core to give Service Providers greater service and architecture flexibility to meet subscriber demands.

Access edge

To help Service Providers keep pace with their service and capacity growth at the network edge, ARRIS offers a modular node design that can accommodate a range of configuration choices. Within a common node housing, Service Providers can easily change modules to perform node splits, upgrade bandwidth, deploy digital optics, migrate to Distributed Access Architectures or launch PON services through Remote OLT. This platform flexibility means Service Providers can deploy exactly the services and capacity they need, while remaining ready for what's next.

Intelligent network management and deployment

ARRIS leverages advanced software to automate, provision and optimize network functionality. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), enables Service Providers to keep pace with rapid network growth and dynamic service scale, bring new devices and services online and establish a common provisioning service based on DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) for DOCSIS and PON gateways to streamline operations.

Smart analytics extend the value of software with data-driven network optimization and QoE improvement bringing insight into key network dynamics and performance metrics and subscriber-level QoE monitoring. To help identify spectral performance issues without truck rolls or expensive spectrum meters, ARRIS has developed a virtual spectrum analyzer capability into its service management platform.

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Deployment support

To plan for growth efficiently, Service Providers must be able to forecast their access network capacity on an extremely granular level - by Service Group and/or busy hour usage, and on a macro level based upon combined video and Internet data services across all the delivery elements of their network. This requires analysis of actual utilization data, network system performance characterization and new service and traffic usage projections. It will also call for new analytical algorithms that turn raw data into optimal, actionable network evolution strategies. Of course, a good plan will also be balanced by CAPEX, OPEX and resource constraints, too.

The ARRIS Professional Services team are with you at every stage of your network evolution, combining consulting services with a comprehensive analytical process for bandwidth planning and modelling to optimize network capacity. They assist in making concrete informed and targeted decisions on the implications of various architectural approaches to network evolution. They also provide specific architectural and equipment recommendations by Service Group, while remaining focused on a sustainable network which maximizes the ROI on all investments.

Planning for success

With a quality plan in hand, Service Providers can turn their attention to successful execution. In this phase, it's critical to consider the logistics of new equipment acquisitions, the preparation of existing facilities for changes and the demands of preparation on trained resources. And, Service Providers must be ready to configure and install any new infrastructure with minimal disruption to the current operational systems.

ARRIS professional services address virtually any need for network evolution and expansion. Working together with a provider's trained resources, our team can help expedite an evolution while minimizing any disruptions on existing business and operations resources. We offer installation, commissioning and test integration services, including staff augmentation services to help get the job done. What's more, we not only help deploy ARRIS solutions, we can assist with an extensive range of non-ARRIS products too.

Access Network Evolution Framework - Network Evolution Services

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Solution Products

E6000 Converged Edge Router
E6000 Converged Edge Router
Flexible, Upgradeable CCAP™ for Integrated, DAA, and 10G EPON Deployments
E6000n Remote PHY
E6000n Remote PHY
Distributed Access Modules for DOCSIS® and QAM video
E6000r Remote PHY Shelf
E6000r Remote PHY Shelf
2RU shelf holding up to three Remote PHY Devices (RPDs)
ARRIS Video Unified Edge (VUE)
ARRIS Video Unified Edge (VUE)
Virtualized Video Headend for DAA and IP Video Convergence
NC2000 Series Optical Nodes
NC2000 Series Optical Nodes
1.2 GHz 1x1, 1x2 and 2x2 Segmentable Nodes - Fiber Deep or HFC
NC4000 Series Optical Nodes
NC4000 Series Optical Nodes
1.2 GHz 4x4 Segmentable Nodes - Fiber Deep or HFC
OM6000 Opti Max Optical Nodes
OM6000 Opti Max Optical Nodes
1.2 GHz 4x4 Segmentable Nodes - Fiber Deep or HFC
ICX IP Switches for DAA
ICX IP Switches for DAA
Ethernet switches for Remote PHY and Remote OLT CIN