Service Providers have multiple architectural approaches to evolve their access networks, migrating Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks to extend fiber deeper into the network. Deploying multiple architectures, at different times, in a single network is common.
They need the ability to support multiple paths, without constantly investing in new platforms, as they move towards enabling 100s of Gigabits of IP bandwidth for video and broadband services.
With our access network evolution framework, ARRIS can help create a flexible migration plan that meets current and future network requirements, while extending the value of investments in existing HFC networks.
Why are networks evolving?
- Bandwidth requirements
Based upon current projections of bandwidth required to deliver video (QAM, SDV and IP) and data services, Service Providers will reach full capacity on their networks in about 10 to 12 years. Some may see it sooner in specific areas of their network. Demand for bandwidth in the access network infrastructure continues to grow, driven by 'billboard speeds' and data consumption.
- Network complexity
Service Providers are looking to simplify their network infrastructure for all services including high speed data, voice, program channels, Video on Demand (VOD) and new services. They have the opportunity to reduce network complexity and operating expenditure and are able to adopt lower cost systems used by web based video services for common video distribution.
- Network reliability
These changes enable improved network reliability and Quality of Service (QoS).
Decision drivers for Service Providers
- Headend capacity
Space, power, or other facility constraints may prevent the addition of further headend equipment. Network evolution solutions include the ability to increase density in the headend while using power more efficiently, or distributing capabilities at the headend to the outside plant.
Capital and operating costs, as well as the need to continue leveraging existing investments, are always important considerations for Service Providers with network evolution implications for inside plant, outside plant and CPE.
- Residential greenfield
Installing fiber for new home construction costs less than replacing coaxial cable with fiber later. For multi dwelling units, where fiber passes a high density of subscribers, PON may be more efficient than other approaches.
Real estate costs, zoning regulations, power distribution, plant configuration, and other factors may dictate different allocations of indoor vs outdoor equipment.
- Timing and availability
The feasibility of some network evolution paths depend on when products are available in the market, when specifications are finalized, and other factors outside the control of Service Providers.
Architectural approaches for migrating HFC networks to FTTx
- Fiber to the Home (FTTH) with analog modulation
Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) is an analog optics technology that provides a logical migration path to Passive Optical Network (PON) architectures. By replacing the coax portion of an HFC network with a single-optical fiber and extending the analog QAM signals to home to an RFoG-ONU, operators can continue to use existing back-office infrastructure.
- Fiber to the Node with digital modulation
A cost-effective migration strategy toward FTTx that moves the fiber closer to each subscriber’s home, often called Distributed Access Architecture (DAA). DAA reduces the number of active devices, replaces analog optics from the headend to the Node and creates additional space in the headend.
- Fiber to the Home (FTTH) with digital modulation
For links up to 20 km, or 60 km with extender, PON offers a cost effective, low maintenance approach for adding higher data rates for video and other Internet services, without having to deploy individual fiber to each subscriber.