Transforming the Network Edge in the Cable Hub
Cable operators today are seeing their network capacity requirements double approximately every 24 months to keep up with customer demand and the launch of new services. Maintaining this high growth rate while managing costs has become a primary focus. Unfortunately, capacity growth and the launch of new services are often delayed because operators must wait for cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors to add routing features and/or services on platforms that are not optimized to support them.
Reducing costs at the edge of the network is one fundamental approach all cable operators are driving. Two areas garnering the bulk of the attention are the CMTS and edge routing platforms. The Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), an industry-wide effort led by CableLabs that combines CMTS capabilities and the delivery of QAM channels on a single platform, addresses the first issue. CCAP is expected to significantly drive down perchannel costs, enable higher speed tiers, and facilitate rapid deployment of new services with deployments starting this year. Cable operators are also looking closely at the layers of routers present in the network and trying to optimize their infrastructures by eliminating routing where it makes sense to do so. In hubs today, there is likely a pair of full routers aggregating numerous CMTS that also have full routing capabilities. These redundant layers of routing, especially in a part of the network that generally only has a choice between two routes (east or west), is ripe for optimization.