Light Reading
SCTE launches standards effort for 'RF over Glass,' a new architecture that will enable cable MSOs to deploy FTTP in greenfields

Fog Lifting on RFOG

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
3/31/2008
50%
50%

Cable's evolution toward a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) architecture, particularly in "greenfield" situations, took a formal step forward recently after the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) officially launched a standards effort around the "RF over Glass" (RFOG) project.

The SCTE Engineering Committee approved the RFOG program last fall. The task of crafting the standards has since been handed over to the SCTE Interface Practices Subcommittee. That work got underway in mid-March at SCTE's Exton, Pa., headquarters. (See SCTE Moves on RFOG.)

Development of RFOG will center on a wide range of interfaces that enable new FTTP networks to interconnect with the cable operator's hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) plant and headend environments Some of the RFOG project will involve specifications for elements such as passive splitters and directional couplers, gateway RF levels, gateway environmental requirements, and fiber-optic passive filters.

The standards resulting from RFOG will also aim to ensure that traditional digital set-tops and Docsis modems can run on FTTP plant managed by cable operators.

Real estate developers are pushing service providers for fiber connections, believing the advanced architecture could boost new-home prices. Some developers even appear to be willing to subsidize some of the additive costs a cable operator might be hit with.

The industry's cable FTTP effort has drawn significant interest (and even some new product lines) from a swath of equipment suppliers, including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Calix Networks Inc. (NYSE: CALX), CommScope Inc. , Aurora Networks Inc. , Wave7 Optics Inc. , Alloptic Inc. , and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS). (See SA Pitches Cable PON, Calix Uses RFOG, Moto Expands 'CablePON' Strategy, and CommScope Sees BrightPath for Cable FTTP.)

It's too early to predict when SCTE will finalize the RFOG standards, but it's clear that plenty of work remains ahead. "I don't know what kind of schedule will result, although I would not expect standards momentarily," SCTE VP of standards Stephen Oksala writes in an email response to Cable Digital News. "It depends on two factors – the speed with which people are willing to set pen to paper, and the degree to which the working group agrees with the details of what gets written down."

Although SCTE has yet to develop those standards, some MSOs, including CableOne and Bresnan Communications LLC , have already begun to deploy or test RFOG-like architectures in the lab or in greenfield developments. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has not disclosed any RFOG projects but is said to be among the most interested MSOs.

Still, most view RFOG as an evolutionary path for cable operators.

"We believe, ultimately, that we'll see glass to every house," says Dave Pangrac, CEO of Pangrac & Associates Development Inc., which licenses FTTP tap, NIU, node, and laser technology to some traditional cable vendors that are going after the RFOG segment. "But [cable operators] won't rip out 4,000 to 5,000 miles of HFC plant to put in fiber."

"It's taking shape and we see demand for this type of product... but it's still the very early days in terms of the number of units that are deployed," says John Dahlquist, vice president of marketing for Aurora Networks, which supplies nodes and transmission gear to cable operators.

As for SCTE's involvement in RFOG, some vendors are concerned that developing far-reaching standards too soon could stifle product innovation.

"What's outlined [by SCTE] is a good starting point," Dahlquist says. "By coming up with standards too quickly, you end up putting everyone in one direction and the benefit of getting work going down on one path, but is it the right path?"

As for RFOG's next steps, "Working Group 5 (fiber optic) in our Interface Practices Subcommittee will be developing whatever specifications they think are appropriate," Oskala writes. "There is also an overall architecture specification that will guide them, although that will likely change over time as people get into the details."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (4) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
LightSpeed Looks to Plug the Gigabit Gap
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/23/2015
Parks Predicts HBO OTT Success
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, Universal, Intel and Microsoft, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.