Nokia Accelerates Cable Operators’ Transition to all-Digital, IP and Fiber Networks with Industry-First Solution for Unified Cable Access

Nokia announced its new Gainspeed product family for unified cable access, giving cable operators a faster, more cost-effective way to increase the capacity of their existing HFC networks and meet growing customer demand for greater bandwidth services.

Cable operators’ existing HFC networks — originally designed to carry broadcast analog video — are being overwhelmed by traffic from IP video, high-speed data services, gaming, file sharing, video conferencing, cloud computing and other business applications.  Collectively, these services are driving a 40-60% average annual compound growth in data capacity requirements. To effectively address these growing bandwidth needs, cable operators must invest heavily in their existing HFC network and in new fiber networks to meet the required network performance levels.

Nokia’s unified cable access solution addresses these challenges by leveraging Software Defined Networking (SDN) techniques to virtualize the CCAP. Built using a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), the Nokia solution pushes cable-specific functions out to access nodes close to the subscriber while centralizing control and management. This approach significantly reduces the costs of traditional cable architectures by eliminating the CCAP as a physical box and replacing the analog optical transmission with 10Gbps Ethernet.

Virtualizing the CCAP also helps to drastically reduce space and power requirements in the headend and hub, while simultaneously delivering full spectrum DOCSIS to every access node, enabling cable operators to deliver multi-gigabit services to customers over their existing coaxial cable. Finally, it provides truly unified cable access by transparently supporting both cable and fiber access in the last mile.

Jeff White, head of business development and strategy for cable in Nokia’s Fixed Networks business group said: “The cable industry is at a crossroads and facing change at a level it has never seen before. The current way of building cable networks simply will not scale to meet the tidal wave of IP video and high-speed data demands faced by cable operators. We’re helping operators add capacity, greatly simplify the network operations and prepare for an all-fiber, all-IP network.”

Erik M. Keith, principal analyst for broadband networks and multiplay services at Current Analysis said: “CCAP technology provides cable operators with substantial capital and operational expenditure savings over legacy headends. However, Nokia’s unified cable access solution, which virtualizes the CCAP, takes MSOs to the next level with at least three major ‘Force 10’ efficiency multipliers, specifically, 10x improvements in fiber efficiency, power consumption and rack space footprints over centralized CCAP implementations.”

Nokia’s Gainspeed product family offers cable operators a single solution that combines HFC and cable technology innovations from the Gainspeed acquisition with Nokia’s industry-leading fiber product portfolio, further extending Nokia’s presence in the cable market and providing a solution for unified cable access. The new Nokia portfolio of cable access products includes:

Currently in a number of customer lab and field trials across North America and Europe, the new unified cable access solution will be available commercially later this year with the SF-4X following in early 2017.

Did you know?

  • Nokia’s unified cable access solution is the only DAA capable of supporting legacy video without having to do a full upgrade or a separate overlay. The solution is built on NETCONF, allowing it to elegantly integrate into existing cable back office systems, and has an open architecture that can work with any edge router.
  • When compared to traditional CCAP solutions Nokia’s virtual CCAP approach delivers dramatically better operating results. For example, based on modeling done for an a major cable operator, the solution delivered an 8-fold reduction in power, a 7-fold reduction in rack space and a substantial improvement in signal quality with no analog transmission distance limits.